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UX maturity Selected UX maturity models

User Experience (UX) & Design Last update: Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Tags: User Experience, UX-Maturity

UX maturity describes the extent to which an organization has implemented human-centered design in its processes. These processes, thus, create good conditions for a positive user experience. UX maturity models help to describe the current status of organizations on this path.

Many UX maturity models exist, all with different levels and focuses. The present article presents a selection of UX maturity models and references on the topic, compiled for my article in t3n issue 63.

Selected UX maturity models

The comprehensive UX maturity model by Jakob Nielsen works with eight levels. It is particularly noteworthy that Jakob Nielsen's model not only refers to design, but also includes the influence of user experience on business strategy. Furthermore, it provides interesting advice on how long it typically takes an organization to move from one level to the next.

Levels 1-4 of Jakob Nielsen's UX maturity model

Levels 5-8 of Jakob Nielsen's UX maturity model


Jared Spool works with five levels in his UX Maturity Model, ranging from "no UX design" to "UX is embedded in all teams." He also includes suggestions for how companies can evolve from one stage to another. The provided episode of the UX podcast presents interesting ideas about the relation of UX maturity and UX strategy.

Jared Spool's UX maturity model

Episode from the UX podcast with Jared Spool on UX maturity and UX strategy


Rolf Molich's UX maturity model presents six levels. It is based on the ISO 33020 definition that deals with the evaluation of processes. Rolf Molich's model applies this definition on usability and UX maturity, both from the perspective of UX management and usability testing.

Rolf Molich's UX maturity model


Natalie Hanson's UX maturity model has a slightly different focus than the other models presented so far: it works with four levels and focuses on establishing human-centered design in organizations. Therefore, the levels refer to different design approaches and include unconscious design, user interface design, user experience design, and, finally, "end-to-end experience design" which takes the comprehensive context of products and services into account (especially also in relation to other products and services).

Natalie Hanson's UX maturity model

Academic research on "UX maturity"

Thaísa C. Lacerda and Christiane Gresse von Wangenheim published a systematic literature review of models dealing with UX maturity in 2018. The research questions of their paper are what characterizes the models, how they were validated, and what their focus is. Therefore, the paper is a good introduction to UX maturity from an academic perspective.

Paper: Lacerda, T. C., & von Wangenheim, C. G. (2018). Systematic literature review of usability capability/maturity models. Computer Standards & Interfaces, 55, 95-105. doi:10.1016/j.csi.2017.06.001


Survey among UX experts: What's the state of UX maturity at companies? Jeff Sauro, Kristin Johnson and Chelsea Meenan conducated a survey study with 70 UX experts in 2017, inquiring how they would rank their companies. Their survey also provides interesting UX-related contextual factors.

Blog post: Survey on UX maturity

Paper: Sauro, J., Johnson, K., & Meenan, C. (2017). From Snake-Oil to Science. Proceedings from 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York, NY, USA. doi:10.1145/3027063.3053350

Erratum: UX honeycomb model

Unfortunately, the references and links for image 1 (UX honeycomb model) are missing in the printed version. The UX honeycomb model was introduced 2005 by Peter Morville. Katerina Karagianni added the attributes "Think", "Feel", and "Use" to the model which I consider very useful. I have recreated and translated the image for the article. You find the version with references and links below. I sincerely apologize for this error that should not have happened. Many thanks to Eric Steiner-Mantei for pointing me to this issue.

UX honeycomb model
complete version of the UX honeycomb model, including references and links

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Hinweis: This article is a supplement to my article on applying UX maturity models in t3n 63 (in German).