Why Business Analysts should Learn UX
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Published on January 8, 2015
Both the business analyst, or BA, and the user experience professional are responsible for finding ways to use technology in meeting the needs of users, as well as those of the business or organization. Both BA and UX professionals have skills and functions that overlap, and both use design thinking to fill their role. Although BAs are often considered to have more of a business focus while UX professionals are considered to focus more on the end-user or even design, the reality is that neither can work in a vacuum, and BA’s must consider user needs along with the UX design process. This makes UX training for BA’s a useful investment of their time, as it helps them to create a more efficient product development process for apps and websites.
A business analyst, or BA, assesses an organization's business model by documenting its processes and integration with technology. User experience (UX) training allows business analysts to participate and better understand in the entire design process, from requirement gathering through design and testing. UX classes allow business analyst's to adapt their approach based upon the needs of users and the scope of each project.
Improving BA Skills with UX training
Modern application and website development projects typically require input from multiple roles across a business. With more complex projects, a business analyst that has a better understanding of the UX needs and development process is able to assist in keeping a project on-track by better integrating business needs and user needs. While some projects may not have time or resources for a full-time UX professional, having a BA that understands UX principles will enable these projects to better meet user needs, eliminating poor user experience problems, or costly and time consuming revisions. Many introductory UX training workshops can be completed in only a few days.
Approach for Business Analysts and UX Collaboration
Projects that have solid analysis and up-front research are more than twice as likely to reach their completion, and see a one-third reduction in the overall time required to complete a project. These are both areas where Business Analysts and UX professionals function, and having them work collaboratively helps to make sure that projects are not only completed, but that it occurs more quickly, and that they deliver a successful project that meets both business and end-user needs Involving both a business analyst and user experience professionals who collaborate effectively from the inception of a project through its completion helps to insure success.
UX practitioners and business analysts can collaborate starting with vetting the basic idea behind a project, determining if a project should be built, or if an off-the-shelf solution exists. Together they can collaborate on strategy, stakeholder research, scoping a project, user research, workflow, use cases, and many other areas. By having BA’s trained in UX skills, your organization achieves stronger synergies that helps to meet user and business needs, and there is less overlap and more sharing of information, causing projects to be delivered in less time and with lower costs.
The synergies of a strong collaboration between BA and UX professionals are clear, and have been written about by academics previously. These benefits of having business analysts receive UX training are documented in a paper published by UC Berkeley.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.