How is your company’s UX maturity?

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A scale to measure evolution

© Alessia Cocconi

The word maturity, in whatever context, has associated with it, as a rule, a meaning very much around the growth process of something. It is common to see the term related to the maturity that people acquire over their lifetime.

However, the term maturity in association with the discipline of UX, can also be associated with the assessment of the evolution stage of any company, given the education and involvement with the discipline of user experience in what are its practices and dynamics.

Measure maturity

When we talk about measuring maturity in a company’s UX discipline, a number of fundamental questions may come to mind right away. It is important to note that the discussion about the company’s UX maturity cannot be a topic that involves only the design team, quite the opposite.

This must be a transversal concern for the entire company and must involve all its departments. After all, UX is not only reflected in the work of the design team, but it is, ultimately, a heritage of all the company’s digital products and services.

Among this discussion, which is intended to be transversal, recurrently, two fundamental questions almost always arise: “Why do we need to measure the maturity of UX?” and “How do we measure UX maturity?”.

Why do we need to measure UX maturity?

The answer to this question lacks the answer to another question before, “Does the company recognize UX as a tool for success?” Only depending on the answer to this first question does it make sense to talk about UX maturity. For example, if the company does not recognize value in the discipline, although it is a tremendous mistake for the business, it does not make sense to measure the maturity of something that the company does not value.

In addition to being a waste of time, it will ultimately be useless work. Measuring the maturity of something that the company as a whole does not value or recognize as a factor for success, will not bring any added value or practical consequence. It is okay to say that “yes, acknowledge” at any internal work meeting, but the reality of the company has to demonstrate this.

On the other hand, if the answer to this question — “Does the company recognize UX as a tool for success?” — is “yes”, then it makes sense to measure maturity.

Measuring the company’s UX maturity helps not only to understand the evolutionary point of the company, but also to define strategies for the future, to identify areas of work and, at the end of the day, to set priorities.

Without a careful picture of reality, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to understand how the company can, over the years, because this is a path that requires your time, making UX even more a distinguishing factor in the face of the competition.

How do we measure UX maturity?

The second question that often arises, of course, is taking UX as a factor for the success of the company’s business and recognizing the need to make a careful diagnosis of reality, how can this measurement of maturity be made tangible.

Regardless of the line of reasoning that can be followed according to the various authors, one thing is certain, it will be necessary to have a “ruler” to measure this maturity in UX. Since the topic of UX maturity is not something new in the community, this fact means that there is now a study on the possible “rules” to be used. Depending on the authors the scale of these rules can vary a lot.

In the user experience discipline, the instrument that serves as a reference for measuring and gauging the maturity of any company, as a rule, is called the UX maturity model.

UX Maturity model

A Google search for the UX maturity model terms will return an endless selection of possible options. It is not a new topic and that is why the definition of several hypotheses for maturity models has grown over time.

Among the many possible solutions, all of them with great value, there is a formulation of a maturity matrix, which, in my opinion, stipulates in a very clear way a possible evolution path for the company in the UX discipline.

The UX Maturity model solution, defined by Renato Feijó and published in 2010, stipulates six different stages of evolution and maturity in user experience. In this proposal, inspired by the author in another model by Bruce Temkin, several stages of maturity applicable to any company are presented.

Adapted © Renato Feijó

Although this is not the only possible solution for the structuring of the UX maturity matrix, it is undoubtedly a very interesting version, because it defines concrete levels, which allow a more objective assessment of the role of the discipline in each company.

Where to start?

Simply looking at the matrix as a rating scale, it can be difficult to define where to begin the assessment in the company. However, the main suggestion, at least to start with the theme, is to start by gathering a working group, across all departments.

The user experience, your continued work and your evaluation is a challenge that cuts across the entire company. For this reason, any dynamic that tries, based on a UX maturity model, to define the company’s maturity level and design evolution strategies, must include from the first hour, several different professional profiles.

Only with this transversal work and frank sharing of perspectives and the creation of consensus, it will be possible in the medium and long term, to make the user experience a real value proposition and a differentiation factor in the face of all the company’s competition.

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How is your company’s UX maturity? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.