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Build The Right UX Team is Critical for Successful Product Development.

What Is a UX team? 

A UX team consists of a multi-disciplined team, including the User Experience design team, Research team, and Information Architecture team. Since it combines several field expertise, the structure of the UX team can be flexible for the design process. Before jumping into the structure, understanding each expertise is essential to building an effective UX team structure. 

The Roles in the UX team

User Researcher 

User research focuses on researching the customers or users and understanding their behaviors, pain points, and needs. Their priority is to gather the user data, analyze it, and deliver insights to the stakeholders. The insight from the user research will help to guide the design process.

The specialties of the user research team are the following:

  • Recruit participants for the research 
  • Choose the proper research method
  • Conduct research, analyze data, and deliver critical insights to other teams. 

User Experience (UX) designer 

The User Experience designer focuses on designing the product for the best user experience. The main tasks of this position are planning the entire design process, creating a user journey map, and testing with users. UX designers must understand all disciplines, including research and IA.

The specialties of the User Experience designer are the following: 

  • User journey mapping 
  • Create a high-fidelity prototype 
  • Iterate user testing 

User Interface (UI) designer

UI designers focus on visual design, especially the interaction side, such as menus, buttons, icons, design systems, or color palettes. Compared with UX designers, UI designers have expertise in aesthetic elements in the product or service. And sometimes, UI designers are also called visual designers. 

The specialties of the User Interface designer are the following: 

  • Design the webpage or screen for interaction 
  • Develop interaction points such as buttons, menu bars, icons, typography 
  • Create and maintain an overall style guide, and animation
  • Design different screen sizes for the devices 

UX Writer 

UX writer is also known as a copywriter. UX writers focus on writing all the text, such as Call-to-Action, error messages, notifications, and welcome screen text. Also, they create emails, newsletters for product sign-up, and update announcements.

The specialties of the UX writer are the following: 

  • Create brand guidelines (tone of voice) and brand messages
  • Build content strategies 
  • Create an overall copy for each user’s interaction point. 

Information Architect

IA focuses on developing sitemaps and a hierarchy of information on the website or product. Understanding the users’ behavior and expectation for this position is crucial. They play a critical role in structuring and organizing the information to facilitate the user experience in the product or service. 

The specialties of Information Architect are the following: 

  • Create sitemap and navigation systems
  • Develop taxonomies and group information clusters
  • Develop content hierarchy 

How to Build a UX team 

Ux team structures are depended on the product, method, or design process. Building the right team for each product will help drive more profits and efficiency. Here are three main UX team structures.

Centralized UX team 

A centralized design team is one of the standard methods for building a UX team. It is also called the internal agency model because agencies commonly work as this structure (design and other resources).

Each team works on several projects, and all team reports to the same UX manager.

Advantages: 

  • Reduce conflicts by specifying roles for each team.
  • Share design resources and professional knowledge in the UX team
  • Includes a wide range of UX skills
  • Have an opportunity to learn different business parts from collaboration

Disadvantages:

  • The product and design teams have less shared understanding because they don’t have common ground knowledge
  • Hard to predict UX team staffing (sometimes the UX team can’t help the project immediately or is overstaffed)
  • The UX team needs to deal with a separate budget

Embedded UX team 

The embedded design team, also called a decentralized team, is a more cross-functional structure, and each team reports to each team leader. This is a more common in-house team structure. 

In this team structure, the UX design team members are embedded in different product teams and keep working with the same product and dev teams for the project. 

Advantages: 

  • UX team gets involved in the project process, such as planning, meetings, conversations, and work stream
  • Better collaboration and trust relationships with other teams and high-efficiency 

Disadvantages:

  • Hard to share resources, such as the design system and UX framework, with other design teams, compared with the centralized team
  • Need to spend time educating other members to understand the UX process and values, and it causes a lack of time for user research and design

Mixed Matrix Team 

A mixed matrix UX  team, aka hybrid team, has both advantages of a centralized and embedded UX team. Each team lead gives a day-to-day guideline for the entire team, and the UX manager focuses on  UX team alignment.

Advantages: 

  • Focus on UX design process as a result of oversight UX manager and team lead
  • Easy to collaborate with design and other teams
  • High flexibility for adapting UX team needs

Disadvantages:

  • Confusing reports and final decision-making process for design team because they need to report to both manager and team leads
  • Not suitable for the larger organization

Conclusion 

UX team structure depends on organization size, type of design projects, and design team capabilities. Understanding the internal resources and team experts will help to build an efficient UX team. Also, setting a clear goal for the UX team and a business goal for the organization is the key to building a successful UX team. 

However, building an in-house UX team will cost a lot because it requires hiring each UX professional. Working with an agency with UX knowledge and professionals could be a cost-effective way to build a successful UX team.

Looking for a better solution for the UX team? Tacpoint, with 20+ years of experience designing digital products, can help you just like an in-house design team.

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