UX Nuggets Thoughts and advice on usability and user experience

“So Just What Do You DO?” - Enhancing Experience, Maximizing Impact

July 1, 2010 |  Gavin Lew


I’m often asked to define just what User Centric does.  It’s an understandable question, since we don’t sell a tangible product.  What we do involves enhancing each consumer’s experience with the products and services of our clients.  What we deliver is, essentially, a method to improve the experience for customers.

About ten years ago, I found myself in the position of explaining this to a wily veteran sales person. He said that he understood what we do and proceeded to take out his cell phone, and say, “You can design and test this to make my experience with it better, right?”

“Yes,” I said.  “A lot of our work is doing that.”

He said “So, if I go to the website to buy an accessory for this phone, you can design and test that website too?”

“Exactly,” I said.  “And I’ll take you one further, when you go home with that device, open up the box and start working with it, we can improve the instructions so you have a better start-up experience (we call these out-of-the-box studies).

And in the future, when you have a problem with the phone, you’ll call an 800 number for support.  You’ll get an interactive voice response system, and we can design and test that. 

And the call center that takes your call?  We can design and test the hundreds of screens the service representative goes through to pull up your account.” And so on.

He looked at me with that same perplexed look and said, “I have been selling IT hardware for 20 years. I know my product. I know the titles of those who purchase my product. But, what you described…Literally scores of people in dozens of areas of a company’s business are impacted. I am bewildered because I have no idea how to sell what you do. But, I see value in it. Just glad I do not have to sell it.”

For me, having him see the value in what we do is key. The value in making a customer’s experience better is what User Centric delivers. Hopefully I helped him better understand that what we do isn’t just about the product, but everything around a product as well.  By analyzing and testing customer touchpoints, we can dramatically improve consumers’ experiences across a vast range of industries, products and services.  

Why does all this matter to our clients?  Because businesses know that good experiences lead to customer loyalty, minimize the return of products, and aid customer retention. What we do isn’t about a product, it’s about the entire user experience.  


Gavin Lew, Executive Vice President, has 20 years of experience in both corporate and academic environments, giving him a strong foundation in user-centered design and evaluation, with particular expertise in mobile technology, healthcare, and global research projects. 

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