Positive user-experience is one of the most important aspects of good design. From UX through to product design, positive user experience plays a huge role in successful design. Nonetheless, despite this and the development of ever more systematic and effective approaches of involving users, their engagement around the design and build out of workspaces is still minimal.
Some examples of reasons for this include:
- concerns about the extra time it might take to consult users;
- liability of owner and managers if information from users is collected and not used;
- cost issues if users, when questioned for information, profit from the opportunity to demand a long list of special features not included in the project budget,
- project teams having trouble identifying future users, and
- projects having other priorities, such as building speculatively for maximum profit, so that user participation is a non-starter. (ref)
While this lack of user-engagement is an issue for a range of reasons – particularly given it’s highly detrimental impact on the effectiveness of those spaces for productive work – it becomes even more problematic when we realize the importance of workspaces in change management processes.
Almost every change management process includes a reconfiguration of workspaces. To not include users in the design and build out of these processes and related organizational changes is to needlessly exclude a ‘positive impact factor’ in the change process and, in doing so, negatively impact on the long-term success of the change process.
Simple ways of including users in this process include:
- managed surveys of occupants with a specific set of reliable questions whose answers can be applied to design decision-making;
- focus groups in which users are encouraged to identify environmental elements they find both supportive and not supportive to their work; and
- ideas sessions – oral, written or on-line – where members of the target user group are invited to suggest solutions to problems identified by designers and planners as part of the process. (ref)
In addition to the very tangible positive impacts that this user-input may play in the long team value of the change process ie more effectively and efficiently designing workspaces for users – we must not forget the intangible (yet possibly even more important) impacts that including users in these processes might promote such as increased ownership and buy-in to the overall change project.
Easily included, yet often overlooked, user-input on space requirements in change management processes has the capacity to positively impact on the success of both the change management process and the effectiveness of the organization at the conclusion of the process. The more we involve users in any change management process the greater the opportunities for long-term success due to the positive impacts that their engagement and involvement in the process are likely to bring about. Considerations of the use and build out of space out to always be considered in any change management process- and, in doing so, user input is a must-have factor to optimize the chances for successful and effective change processes.
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