Matrix UX team
A matrix UX team is one of the three types of UX team structures that functions as a hybrid between the other two types: centralized and decentralized UX teams. UX team structure defines the roles and responsibilities of each team member, including who they report to and their working relationship with other teams. The most efficient team structure for each situation depends on various factors, including the product’s needs, the resources available, and the amount and specific type of UX work needed.
How a matrix UX team works together
Matrix UX teams are a hybrid model combining the centralized and decentralized models. With a matrix structure, UX professionals work within multiple product teams, with a team lead directing each employee's daily tasks and functions. A UX manager oversees each team and team leader, manages team alignment and guides each UX professional’s career development and personal growth.
Key roles on a matrix UX team
To build an effective matrix UX team that collaborates well and achieves your organization’s product vision, you need a full picture of what each role within a UX team is responsible for providing and how they work with the other roles.
Organizations using a matrix UX team can gain a holistic view of the entire UX design process, collaborate effectively with colleagues offering diverse skill sets, and use each of their unique perspectives to contribute to the UX process most effectively.
The UX writer focuses on writing all the text users see when using a product, website, or app. This includes everything from the words on the page to error messages, buttons, and chat messages. UX writers aim to create the most user-friendly content and copy for the end user to navigate and use the product most effectively.
You can think of the UX writer as responsible for bringing life to the text and keeping it simple to read. They create the words on the page that deliver the matrix UX team's vision.
The UX researcher systematically engages the target user base to form a complete understanding of their needs, pain points, behaviors, and motivations for using a product or service. The UX researcher builds a research plan, conducts research sessions, analyzes the data gathered, and then delivers their findings to key stakeholders. The goal of the UX researcher is to collect insights about the end-user to guide and inform the product design process based on user feedback, building a better end product.
The information architect on a matrix UX team organizes, structures, and labels the product’s interface and experience to allow the user to quickly and easily navigate the information and screen they need. To do this as effectively as possible, the information architect must understand users’ product expectations, how the content will be presented, and the overall business goals.
UX designers aim to make an effective, enjoyable, and accessible end product for the user. This contributes to the product's usefulness, popularity, and ultimate success. To create the best possible product, UX designers participate in each phase of the UX design process, from planning to user research and testing, maintaining a closely collaborative relationship with other team members.
The responsibility of UI designers is to confirm the look and feel of the product is something users will want to use consistently. They design and create the screens users interact with and all the interactive elements, such as buttons and menus. Sometimes, a UI designer is referred to as a visual designer.
A simple way to differentiate between a UX designer and a UI designer is to remember that UI design refers to the aesthetic elements users interact with when using a product. On the other hand, UX design focuses on the user's overall experience when using a product. Both are necessary aspects of the product design process, and UX professionals often contribute to both UI and UX to make the end product as efficient and successful as possible. Well-rounded UX professionals are effective at creating user-centric products that are both intuitive and enjoyable to use.
The benefits of a matrix UX team
When working within a matrix UX team structure, UX professionals tend to work with the same product team long-term. The UX manager maintains a shared vision across all product teams.
The most significant benefit of a matrix UX team structure is its flexibility, allowing teams to quickly adapt the matrix model to meet evolving organizational requirements and new short-term needs as they arise.
Due to the UX manager’s focus on alignment across a product, UX strategy and design principles stay consistent. Any changes to the design or product get filtered through the shared vision before decisions are made.
Using several UX professionals means each principle of UX design is considered from multiple angles and perspectives. By gaining additional perspectives, UX teams can build on research practices and improve the outcomes of the UX design process.
The downsides of a matrix UX team
While a matrix UX team is beneficial in many ways, one of the possible downsides is that with shared leadership of product team leaders and an overall UX manager, professionals on each product UX team might deal with confusion about which leadership role they should communicate specific aspects of their work to in each situation. But with clear communication, project priorities, feedback, and resource allocation, questions can be solved efficiently.
Another potential downside of working with a matrix UX team is project and product decision-making can become time-consuming and inefficient with multiple team leads. UX professionals may also receive confusing and conflicting guidance from their team leaders and the overseeing UX manager, leading to ineffective workflows and products containing errors and bugs.
When to use a matrix UX team structure
Organizations in a growth stage often choose a matrix UX team structure when it’s necessary to maintain a high degree of collaboration within a core user experience team.
Each UX professional within a matrix UX team structure uses their specialized knowledge and skill sets to contribute most effectively to project goals while maintaining close collaboration with project stakeholders. Organizations can ensure a seamless, user-centered product design process with a matrix UX team structure.