O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Software Development and UX

Integrating Product Design to Build a Better Product

Debbie Levitt

Most software development methodologies fail to account for how user experience (UX) fits into organizations, teams, and projects. Some suggest that a Product Manager describing features should be enough for developers, that UX designers should train others to do their specialized jobs, or that excluding UX experts solves them being “too siloed” and “not collaborative.” UX roles are often excluded, circumvented, minimized, and overruled because UX is misunderstood, someone thinks it's "faster" without them, or someone thinks the cure for silos is to get rid of UX completely.

This happens with no other role in software development. Excluding UX from the development process is hurting culture, efficiency, and productivity, and creating poor products for customers.

Your customer only cares about your UX — not whether you have 1,000 developers, or if you are Agile or Lean. Companies are figuring out that UX specialists and the User-Centered Design process are great investments that more than pay for themselves. Recent highly-publicized UX failures remind us that skimping on the UX process can alienate customers, create negative media attention, and burn millions of dollars.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, hands-on, online course, you’ll understand:

  • How integrating UX into your development process saves time and money, increases efficiency, minimizes needed engineering changes, and creates the best product for users.
  • How UX specialists conduct research, design the entire product, learn from testing, iterate to fix flaws, and deliver vetted blueprints — so you build once.
  • How user-centered design fits into project timelines and development methodologies including Agile and Lean.
  • The benefits of bringing UX specialists in early, during portfolio planning and management.

And you’ll be able to:

  • Understand where UX fits into software development methodologies, teams, and processes.
  • Measurably improve product, customer satisfaction, and efficiency.
  • Improve collaboration and culture.

This training course is for you because...

  • You contribute to software development in a non-UX role, whether as a team leader, manager, executive, engineering contributor (developer, QA, Scrum master, etc.), business analyst, or product, project, portfolio, or program manager.
  • You’re an Agile coach or business transformation leader who has noticed the lack of materials and detailed advice on what UX does and how it should be integrated.
  • You have been frustrated with your interactions with UX specialists in the past, or you’ve never worked with UX and you wonder how they fit in.


  • An understanding of how the software development process works at your company or on your team(s).

Recommended preparation:

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Debbie Levitt is CEO of Ptype UX & Product Design Agency. She’s been a UX strategist, designer, and trainer since the 1990s and has influenced interfaces at Sony, Wells Fargo, Constant Contact, Macys, Oracle, and a variety of Silicon Valley startups. Clients have given her the nickname “Mary Poppins” because she flies in, improves everything she can, sings a few songs, and flies away to her next adventure. Debbie is also a speaker and trainer at conferences including eBay’s Developer Conference, PayPal’s Developer Conference, UXPA, and WeAreDevelopers. She’s an O’Reilly author and one of the few instructors on the planet recommended by Axure. Her newest training program is DevOps ICU, which teaches people in non-UX roles how to measurably improve DevOps results by correctly integrating UX practitioners and processes. Outside of UX work, and sometimes during UX work, Debbie enjoys singing symphonic prog goth metal, opera, and new wave music. She’s now a digital nomad, splitting her time between the US and rural Italy.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

What is UX, and where does it fit in to software development? (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: UX is widely misunderstood and often left out of software methodologies. Companies complacent about their success often resist making changes that would include UX tasks and workers.
  • Poll
  • Discussion: Share your UX horror story. Most people have a story about where working with UX went wrong. Let’s hear a few from attendees so we can look at how these situations might be handled in the future.
  • Presentation: Differences between processes that include or exclude UX.
  • Presentation: UX definition, goals, accessibility.

The User-Centered Design Process (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: Learn about the process most UX practitioners use and the importance of each step.
  • Exercise: Start to create a Customer Journey Map. Put yourself in a target customer’s shoes and consider her steps, thoughts, emotions, and needs. Download and print the handout.

UX vs UI. UX and Lean, Agile, and Waterfall (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Understanding the differences between “UX” and “UI.” Who should do UX work at our company?
  • Presentation: What should our MVP be? Where can UX work cut Lean waste?
  • Presentation: Where UX fits into most flavors of Agile. UX is on the team, sprinting with you. Improving the #1 problem in the UX-Agile relationship.
  • Presentation: Is UX waterfall? What is the smallest unit of UX work?
  • Q&A

Information Architecture (10 minutes)

  • Exercise: Attendees will take what’s called a “tree test,” a testing technique used to check if the proposed site navigation will make sense to customers or if it still needs more adjusting.
  • Break (5 minutes)

UX as Valuable Investment; Measuring Impact (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Avoid huge risks by integrating UX.
  • Poll
  • Presentation: Measuring customer feedback and the effects of changing how we work with UX.
  • Poll
  • Q&A

Improve Collaboration and Culture (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Collaboration by including UX workers in dev processes. Why UX doesn’t design by committee.

Correctly Integrate UX (15 minutes)

  • Presentation: Things your company may have previously tried that they thought were UX might not have really been UX. It’s time to try again and use a better approach.
  • Q&A