What is it that you do for a living again?

Spent a large part of yesterday producing data for my colleagues in marketing regarding traffic, conversion and drop-off throughout specific areas of our site. This got me thinking about what service I, as a usability and analytics manager, provide to the rest of the company. I often use an illness analogy when describing this paradigm to people. By providing data I am presenting the symptoms of a problem, the current and historic state of health. With analysis on this data I begin to diagnose what the problem is and its etymology. However, and this is quite an important distinction, I am not in the position to provide the cure. The cure has to come from collaborative discussions between myself (with the knowledge of what customers do/want to do online), the marketing team (with the intention of what they want customers to do online) and the financiers and technical teams (to understand what we can afford and technically implement online).

When you put yourself (and are part of a team that puts itself out) within The Company as experts in Web Customer Experience it’s incredibly easy for people to turn to you with expectations that you’re the panacea for their perceived problems online … What’s even harder to demonstrate is quite what makes someone expert in this field. It’s a problem I had academically with Psychology. Often what psychology experiments prove is what people call ‘common sense’. I wish I had a pound for the number of times someone’s said to me “that’s obvious” in referring to the result of an experiment or some insight that’s been provided but then it was obvious centuries ago that the world was flat and the sun revolved around us. The best way to demonstrate expertise is by showing an ROI for the work you do. I’m building up, as usual, to another promise to write that piece: “how to convince your stakeholders that user-centred design is required from day 0 of the project“. It’s coming …

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