UX and CX – A Perfect Marriage

By Ian Stokol, CCXP posted 06-15-2020 09:00 AM


In part 1 of my article examining Limina’s recent study on the current state of UX design practices, I discussed the alignment of their recommended best practices for a design-integrated organization with CXPA’s core competencies. But a key question remains that must be answered--what is the nature of the relationship between UX and CX?

 Some say UX is a subset of CX. I like to think the difference is similar to how the Project Management Institute (PMI) describes the difference between project and program management--project management is doing projects right and program management is doing the right projects. Strategy and implementation work together, informing each other. Peter F. Drucker once said, “strategy is a commodity, execution is an art.” UX is about how we execute CX improvements and innovations. It could be argued that UX is more about getting the surface-to-core solutions right, while CX is more about getting the end-to-end customers’ experience right – that is, the seamless and elegant links between each touchpoint.

 The difference between UX and CX is the difference between the complexities of a user interacting with a particular tool, device, machine or application, versus a customer’s experience of an organization’s service, brand, sales, delivery and support interactions – all the touchpoints on the customer’s journey with the organization, including its systems and processes. That's where UX design and CX intersect.

 As Jon Fukuda, Limina’s co-founder and principal, notes, When we say design, and what we'd like others to hear when we say design, is that design is a process that is shared in an organization. It means we're going to get organized to better understand our customers, to conduct experiments on how we can better satisfy our customers and better operationalize design patterning to drive consistency for our customers.”

 CX typically focuses on external interactions of marketing needs and VoC programs. UX focuses on interactions, such as user needs, all touch-points/impressions that lead to a UI (user interface). UX focuses on delivery or implementation and is informed by CX, which generally  is more focused on business strategy. Both have a shared focus on customer-centricity.Links in a chain

 UX covers so many disciplines in itself, including, but not limited to Design Thinking, UI Patterns, Mobile Design, Interaction Design, Interaction for Usability and Accessibility and designing for Augmented and Virtual Reality. Many of these skills are needed in experience design at individual touchpoints for onmi or multi-channel capabilities. In this so-called ‘COVID-19 world’, we are all re-examining and, in some cases, re-imagining our core capabilities and business models. 

 UX is a critical component in making this transformation successful and efficient. Limina’s study uncovered that most organizations invest in aligning IT and business functions, but not in their design capabilities. According to Fukuda, “You can see this when businesses invest in systems to support CRM, ERP, and payroll management – all the things that a business needs to do, its core functions, are very well supported through IT infrastructure. Where we're still seeing a deficit – and I think this is a key role for the CX Community – is really driving a better discussion between design and business.”

 In my next post, I’ll examine the role of design thinking in the design process.

 To download Limina’s study, click here.

About Ian Stokol CCXP, PMP, PMI-ACP, AgilePM

With a blend of CX management disciplines, UX Design and project management skills, Ian has worked with organizations and led teams to understand their customers’ desired outcomes and then plan, align, create and deliver customer-centric experiences. As one of the 2019 CX Impact Award Winners, Ian continues to work in and study Customer Experience Management, Human-Centred Design and Project Management, bridging the gap between organizational strategy, its implementation and evolution. Ian is the Senior CX Manager in Monash University’s Strategic Marketing and Communications Team and a design league coach at the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF). 

About Limina

Limina is a user experience (UX) and technical design consultancy that helps Fortune 500 companies and government agencies simplify complex human-to-computer interactions by designing more intuitive, integrated digital user experiences. Limina’s discovery process helps clients uncover the needs and wants of their customers, rather than create a new product or service that they think customers want. Founded in 2003, Limina is based in Longmont, CO.