The trouble with UX adoption in business | Acro Media
Chris Arlidge


Chris Arlidge

, UX Designer

Posted in Experience Design

April 16, 2021

The trouble with UX adoption in business

Getting buy-in for user experience (UX) design changes from executives isn’t easy. Often, it requires a shift in mindset from the heads of every department and excuses come easily. In this article, one of Acro Media’s own experience design experts addresses some of the common troubles with UX adoption.

Companies need to take UX design, and their users seriously

“Most business models have focused on self-interest instead of user experience.” – Tim Cook

Still learning? More info on our Experience Design services | Acro Media

Web site and application design have come a long way in the past 20+ years. The technology has improved and so have the design methodologies used to create them. User experience design (UX) is one of these ‘methodologies’ that has become not just a buzzword but a legitimate design practice, improving the way we all interact and access the web, our applications, and so many other transactions day-to-day.

"We need to stop worrying about proving the value of design & just focus on outcomes that provide value.” – Denis Weil

Despite this, there are still a large number of companies that do not, or will not adopt stronger UX practices in their products.

If you look at companies like Apple, Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM, and Starbucks, they all put user experience at the top of their priority list. Companies like these have been outperforming other companies by up to 228% in the past 10 years.

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience & work backwards to the technology”. – Steve Jobs

Businesses today can’t sit on their laurels expecting their value propositions to save them. There is a massive increase in the number (and quality) of products/services becoming available and that creates more competition. What will separate the wheat from the chaff? The user experience.

So how do you get your business to adopt UX design and practices?

Common objections to UX and how to solve for them

Here are some of the issues we commonly face when trying to present the value of proper user experience design.

We know our users already

Company directors know who they are targeting with their business models. But what about everyone else? Many people in the company will have important information or knowledge of their users, and that input shouldn’t be discounted. The drawback to this is that this information alone may not provide enough details to provide solid design decisions, and may not be informed by direct observation. Through conversation and collaboration, a better user picture is developed and from there we build the best user experience possible.

Users don’t know what they need

This isn’t wrong. We can ask users what they want, and they are always happy to tell you. The problem is what they want may not be what they need. Following stakeholder, or user research to the letter can be problematic for this reason. However, good user research, design thinking, and empathy will allow for better decision-making, fulfilling customers’ needs, not just their wants.

We have already conducted user research

We have heard this one more than once, and when looking at the research it was clear that this was market research and not user research. Although it is important to know what pains, or motivates users, or what their demographics are, it doesn’t include what tasks they need to perform, what tools they use, and most importantly it doesn’t provide information based on user interviews or on direct observation of these tasks (user testing).

Executives see UX design as fluff, or intangible

Granted, there are not a lot of juicy or eye-popping visuals here. Research, wireframes, and information architectures can be quite dry. Often the results of good UX can only be seen over time in increased profits, reduced cart abandonments, more user sign-ups etc.

A common perception is that executives are only interested in if this will make money, or if it will save money. We can solve this by speaking their language. We can take a page from the UX handbook, and try not to speak to them in a design-centric language (red-routes, user personas, wireframes, etc.), and use language that they can relate to and understand. It is always helpful to research and present anything that will affect the company’s bottom line.

An example might be: “By applying UX principles we can make this a better experience for our customer”, we could say instead: “We are losing an estimated $xx a day in abandoned carts, by making [this UX improvement] and [that UX improvement] we can reduce that loss considerably.”


User experience design provides deeper understanding through research and observation. Good experiences need to be the norm, regardless of your product or service. Winning over the hearts and minds of executives is learning to speak to their motivations.

Adopting UX design in your organization may not be easy. A good thing to remember is that we are all human, and we need to make changes slowly. Small incremental improvements are better than none, and far more realistic than massive one-shot overnight improvements. Knowing how to speak the language of the decision-makers, and understanding their motivations for the decisions they make will go a long way in getting you to convince them of the value of UX design.

Experience design is the subtle art of visual storytelling, while intuitively leading your customer to the end goal. Our team of UX design experts is always ready and willing to help tell your story. Reach out today to find out more.

“Good UX is good business.” – Andrew Kucheriavy

Still have questions? Check out our Experience Design page | Acro Media