Where does UX belong?

If you ask ten people where user experience belongs in an organization, you will likely get eleven answers, but first, you might get asked what you mean by user experience (UX).

  • Client (or Customer) Experience (CX), refers to the impression you leave with your client, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey. This involves every step from advertising, brochures and public websites to forms, call centers and correspondence.
  • User Experience, the way I am defining it, is focussed on the time the client is interacting with the website or web application to accomplish a task.

I work in Information Technology (IT), and our team is integrally involved in the requirements and design of systems.  We focus on information architecture, interaction design, visual design, accessibility and usability testing.  When our organization needs user research, personas, client journeys, concept testing, content strategy, brand guidelines, etc. we have marketing partners who collaborate with us.  It's not a clean division, and we run into issues doing pure research that can't be charged back to a specific IT project.  On the other hand, the collaboration we have with Marketing rarely gets to the level of detail needed to integrate legacy back-end systems and databases.  The concept testing gives high level direction, but does not reflect the complexity of our existing systems.

I wish we had more time and resources for user research.  Given the right budget support, that would be easier to accomplish on a team within Marketing. 

I am also proud of the team's ability to partner with development and quality assurance to make systems that benefit our users on tight timeframes, that would be more difficult if we weren't part of the IT organization.

I don't have a good answer for where UX belongs in an organization.  This is a question that will probably not have an answer, or many answers depending on your specific circumstances.