Trading cards outlining the six key areas of UX expertise.
Making Room for UX
Sapient Government Services
Role: Associate Creative Director
Despite considerable success by user experience professionals within specific projects, many of Sapient Government Services' consultants didn't know much about the value of UX and its great potential as a problem-solving tool. They had limited to no exposure to user research and content strategy and assumed that visual design was about making things look pretty and that an information architect's most important job was to create wireframes.
Due in large part to the U.S. Government's antiquated procurement system, government agencies tend not to seek out user experience expertise when they publish requests for proposals. The problems they describe are frequently about the needs and frustrations of users, but they look to the expertise of business analysts, graphic artists and even developers for solutions. Since the client wasn't asking for user experience, many non-UX consultants had little reason to think past their limited pre-conceptions.
I facilitated a series of meetings with Sapient Government Services' user experience professionals where we discussed our greatest challenges within the existing culture. We considered the traditional educational methods (brown bag lunches to expose the rest of the organization to user experience principles, etc.), but enough of us had tried similar tactics and seen limited success.
Instead, we decided to sneak information about UX into our peers' brains through a contest where they would collect relatively subversive postcards to put themselves in the running to win Apple iPods.
I illustrated, designed, wrote and had printed on full-color card stock the postcards, one for each of six areas of user experience expertise. I created edgy, humorous artwork that people would want to post in their cubicles, show their co-workers and even share with their clients. The irreverence and whimsy of the postcards inspired conversation and changed forever how some now talk about user experience and the work of user experience professionals at Sapient Government Services.