Finally, we (UX practitioners) had everything going for us: After years of having to toil with static drawing tools such as Visio, or agonize over tools intended for developers, rapid prototyping tools such as Axure made it possible for a non-developer to dream-up and demonstrate compelling interfaces. During a brief period of bliss, between 2007-2010 or so, while things were far from perfect, everyone was happy: Stakeholders, developers, users and of course - us, UX people.
But clouds of trouble gathered with the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, starting with the iPhone, iPad and the now numerous offerings from others. For our clients, making sure their websites and software works well on all devices quickly changes from 'nice to have' to 'absolutely must have'. From providing some level of competitive advantage, ensuring your software is device-agonistic has become a financial deep-hole, with marginal advantage when offered, to punishing consequences if not.
On the surface, this situation would suggest a gold mine to anyone in the UX profession, since the implications are that there is tons or work we need to help with. And indeed, one might argue that the opposite situation would be worse, and I agree. However, as device-agnostic design becomes a core demand from clients, a non-trivial mission is being viewed by the people who pay for it, as trivial. In other words - They want to pay less, to get more, and as usual - faster. It makes sense, from the client's perspective, because, when you look at a good simple design, it looks so simple, so easy to do...just like competitive ice-skating, perhaps. Only those who went through a design project can appreciate the complexities.
- Do our stakeholders understand what we are getting ourselves into?
- Do we understand?