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The Pit Bull, the Sniper and the Huggy Bear

Might sound like the beginning of an Aesop Fable, but what we're really addressing is the need for perspective and determining the best group-mix for a top-notch user experience (UX) team. As we said before, debate is critical for designing good customer experiences. Having a difference of opinion is paramount. Rarely is there good design without conflict. The question is: who do you want having those battles?

We believe there are 3 critical perspectives every UX team must possess as the reality of Big Data coalesces with the behaviors of the omni-channel customer.

The Pit Bull

Often seen as an aggressive and passionate individual. Perpetually fighting for new and better ways celebrate the value of UX. This visionary is unafraid to bend the rules and is on a relentless path to UX innovation. Most importantly, this individual sees the larger picture as well as the road ahead. Prefers to focus on the larger issues. Is most valuable when “selling” the solution.

The Sniper

This laser-guided thinker would rather crawl through the weeds of an idea than soar from high above. Finds things others will miss, loves to tinker and fine-tune every nuance of a solution. A purist when it comes to following best practices, this individual is also psychology-minded and likely academic in attitude. This person is also the best as mapping out the details for others. The best at providing examples of established standards. Caters to known customer behavior over raw instinct. Always prefers to do it by-the-book.

The Huggy Bear

The balance seeker of the group, this person finds an easy dialog among several players. Can see things from others perspectives. Often changes thinking to maintain a good rhythm with others on the team. However, she is likely the best translator between tech and creative. She has a good understanding of how the data can connect into an experience. She is also sensitive to the demand an experience will have on the development team. A great hunter of information and is best equipped learn something new. Being open-minded, she rarely rejects an idea until it is thoroughly understood.

Of course there are many more personalities in the creative and UX world, but these were chosen because the MIX is critical and each role/perspective is key to moving things forward. It’s important to not overload a team with too many sharing the same perspective. For example, too many Huggy Bears may create a group of “yes-men” as well as a considerable lack of focus. Or, if your team is comprised of mostly Pit Bulls, you may see a team likely to miss the important details and not harbor enough best practices. Too many Snipers and you have a group less likely to try new things, too single-minded. They will often miss the larger picture, and innovative thinking may be scarce.

The real challenge won't be finding these personalities — although that isn't easy these days. The real challenge will be leading them and keeping them focused in spite of their strong — but essential — differences.

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