BA vs. UX: The Great Debate

February 19, 2015 • Business Strategy • Views: 98917


I recently attended the event User Experience & Business Analysis, hosted by UXPA and IIBA. The event was centered on the tensions and cohesions between business analysis and user experience professions. Hosted by UXPA and IIBA, the two speakers were Nick de Voil (Member Experience Director of IIBA UK) and Ian Worley (Global Head of User Experience and Design Morgan Stanley). Below are some of the notes on the similarities and differences between BA and UX.

There are many similarites between BA and UX, but also a few notable differences. BA and UX are the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the digital lifecycle. That is, they work together with intrinsically compatible roles. While the line between UX and BA is becoming increasingly blurred, the main difference remains: BAs tend to empathize with business while UX tends to empathize with users. Combined, they can reach a solution that benefits both the business and the user. It is important to note that the roles have similar methodologies, and hence BAs can do UX work and vice versa. It simply depends on what the focus is on. A BA that is user focused and a UX designer that is business focused do the same role.

trajectoryAnother difference between the two roles is in the career trajectory. Business Analysts tend to become subject matter experts as they stay in the same industry for a long time, while UX designers tend to hop to new projects, becoming innovation distributors. In other words, BAs are rewarded for industrial fidelity while UXers are rewarded for being industrially promiscuous and learning how to apply design methods to any type of project.HOW they move forward is different but WHERE they move towards is usually the same: product strategy.

And lastly, one more difference is in the way they commnicate. Business Analysts tend to be strong at writing out analysis and requirements, while UX would rather draw that write, through wireframes and user journey mapping. If BA and UX work together, they can work in an iterative, fast way to validate requirements with both visuals and words.  Ian states; Clients do not buy UX people and BA people, they buy solutions. Work together to make that happen.

Ian Worleys concluded the session with: We should be focusing on how we can organize our resources and skills, rather than our professional labels.


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9 Responses to BA vs. UX: The Great Debate

  1. Bidhan says:

    I’m imeresspd you should think of something like that

  2. […] Trozelli shared her notes from a joint IIBA and UXPA event in the UK. The key point: while the line between business […]

  3. Tim says:

    Thanks very much for this article…it was quite helpful

  4. Amar Wadnere says:


    You have nailed it with your explanation.
    The differences and similarities between Business Analyst (BA) and User Experience Designer (UXD) are well explained.
    I am an UXD and I most often wonder that why are we UXers asked to think the way Client is thinking. As it is not our job, it BA’s job!
    Instead we are suppose to make an user’s life easy. We UX people are responsible for optimizing the Experience of Users.
    I believe all IT and Management people should visit your site to make the life easy for both BA people and UXD people.
    And thanks to Nick and Ian as well!
    Stay blessed.

  5. Eugene Hill says:

    Great piece of information! I am amazed.

  6. Adam Gee says:

    Isn’t there a strong argument that if you do what’s right by the Users, you are doing what’s best for the Business? What implications does that have for BAs?

  7. Sumit Shrestha says:

    Great article. It’s exactly what I was looking for.

  8. CermIdeorie says:

    Hey! Thank You for that.good work… Like a MojoHeadz records =)

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