Most people expect any conversation about UX to focus on ease of use and usability.
Unfortunately, this often leaves many user experience questions unattended to by web designers. For example, how does the product add value, and save time whilst providing a truly user-centric experience?
It is more vital now than ever for UX designers to maintain well-defined goals and guidelines whilst navigating UX projects. Fortunately, a UX strategy can help with this. So, let’s find out what it is, why it matters, and how to actually create one.
What is UX strategy?
A UX strategy is a comprehensive plan of actions that guides the execution of a user design project over time. It primarily seeks to foster a shared understanding of the direction of UX activities whilst designing and implementing user experience solutions. This is all done with the goal of reaching an enhanced user experience over a period of time.
A UX strategy can cover a single product, service, or even feature to ensure that user-centred insights are integrated into an organisation’s business strategy.
This consequently enables UX practitioners to articulate clearly how executing the desired UX-related design activities will make the business more successful.
What does a UX strategist do?
A UX strategist is someone who curates the UX plan, leveraging their understanding of UI design, wireframing, journey mapping, and user research. So, UX strategists fundamentally exploit their practical UX skills, such as triangulating multiple UX inputs and sources of information, to design a high-level plan to improve user experience.
What is a UX roadmap?
A UX roadmap is a high-level artifact that acts as a single source of truth to help UX designers, developers, and stakeholders to align around a single vision and priorities. Roadmap is used by the UX team to communicate future work (to their stakeholders as well as within their own team). UX roadmap should help to answer this question: What should we solve for?
UX roadmaps can be in the form of spreadsheets, slide decks, visualisations, sticky notes, or a mix of media. These forms generally share the same central structure — they are organised by context (scope and time) and theme.
Components of UX strategy
Essentially, three core components make up a UX strategy to reflect the needs, constraints, and concerns of both users and the organisation.
Without clear goals, it’s impossible to report any meaningful UX progress and results along the way or to identify opportunities that impact your current business model. Furthermore, your user-experience goals and metrics will end up seeming irrelevant and disconnected from the business priorities.
For the most part, goals are usually set by leadership. However, the goals should tie directly back to end-user needs.
2. Vision or statement of intent
A UX strategy requires a user-centred vision or a mission statement with guiding principles regarding key-value propositions and differentiation statements. This information summarises the product or service’s strategic value and positioning.
A plan in a UX strategy is required to accomplish each UX goal. Such a plan is usually broken down into multiple objectives that describe the actions to take to reach the desired UX goal over time.
These objectives could focus on solving a problem in the user experience, exploring new ideas, or performing additional user research.
Nonetheless, completing these objectives should enable a team to demonstrate incremental progress toward the UX vision. Additionally, the UX plan can also include information regarding activities, timing approximations, uncertainties, prerequisites, and potential dependencies.
UX strategy framework
Steps to create a UX strategy
Before we delve into the creation of an effective UX strategy, there are four key elements that work in harmony to make a strategy effective.
- Validated user research: This revolves around getting direct input from target users before starting UX design.
- Business strategy: This encompasses the company’s guiding principles, competitive advantage, revenue streams, and high-level objectives.
- Value innovation: This tenet scopes how the company seeks to pursue differentiation and lower costs.
- User experience design: This focuses on delivering an effective user experience to seamlessly bring value to the customer.
Once the above tenets are understood, the key steps to create an effective UX strategy are:
1. Define the business strategy via stakeholder interviews
It is imperative to get the business stakeholders involved early in the UX project. Despite predominantly focusing on the user, a competent UX designer should not forget the business side.
To get insights from business stakeholders, subsequent interviews should focus on determining how the product is positioned in the market? It is also important to figure out the company’s objectives and how stakeholders measure the success of the product. Answering these questions ensures the UX design process keeps the brand and business in mind.
2. Product differentiation through competitive research and analysis
Once the UX design process is aligned with the company brand and strategy, you need to understand where the product lies in the existing competitive landscape. Essentially, you’ll need to research how the product tallies in comparison to comparable products (i.e., its competitive advantage).
3. Remain user-centred with validated user research
Ensure that you’re designing a product people actually want to use by getting feedback from target users early. This can be done via surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, card sorting, A/B testing, or field studies.
4. Set detailed design goals to get where you want to be
After exploiting the information gathered from both users and stakeholders, proceed to define specific metrics that will serve as a baseline to gauge the success of your UX design.
It is required to be highly specific about what you seek to achieve, and how you plan to accomplish it, and how to determine if you have reached the desired outcome.
5. Conduct methodical experiments and iterate on the results
Continuously employ your UX strategy guide to direct your efforts. Additionally, consistently validate both the UX strategy and your design. As you iteratively work to create a minimum viable product, test it with real users, and improve it based on feedback.
Why is UX strategy important?
- It fosters a user-first mentality. A UX strategy helps teammates to better understand the prospective user’s pain points and goals. Thus, it helps in keeping designers, company executives, developers, and even customer service representatives aware of user needs.
- It helps to connect all touchpoints by helping UX designers to understand the different ways a user interacts with the product or brand.
- UX strategy can be the bridge between user-centred product design and overall business goals. This helps to create user-friendly products whilst remaining aware of metrics like ROIs, profit, and total revenue.
- It can help build brand trust with clients and stakeholders alike.
- It helps deliver a clear initiative and measure of success and what the company seeks to achieve, and a quantifiable way to assess when defined goals have been met.
Tips for creating a UX strategy
Many exciting technology companies, unfortunately, design products with their own profit-oriented goals and preferences in mind. And while ROIs and total revenue are crucial, it is vital that users always be at the forefront of any UX strategy.
An effective UX strategy puts the user’s current and future needs, and perception of the brand at the centre.
Maintain specific goals
The more particular your goals are, the easier it is to establish when they’ve been met or not—or to even track how effective one’s UX design team is. Avoid vague goals like “augment user engagement.” Rather aim for a more specific target like “a 25% increase in both mobile and web user engagement.”
Always optimise for speed and accessibility
Keep speed and accessibility in mind, as it highly affects a user’s experience. Today’s consumers will judge the quality of a product on how quickly and smoothly it operates.
Define your business strategy
Define business objectives within your UX strategy by combining user experience goals with the overall goals of the business. For example, define the financial targets the organisation wants to hit or the improvements the company seeks for its processes, structure, culture, and performance.
Overall, this means getting the decision-makers in the company involved in the project during the early stages. While focusing on the user is important for a UX designer, it is equally important to pay attention to the business side of things.
Consider how your product is positioned within the market or how the stakeholders would measure the success of the product? Answering questions like these would help you create a business objective that stays at the back of your mind while designing the product for the users.
Take a holistic approach
Always take a holistic approach and consider all user touchpoints before and after a user interacts with the product to deliver more satisfying user experiences and brand perception.
User touch points can range from things like customer service support, advertisements and marketing, and purchasing processes.
UX strategy examples
Here is a sample example of a UX strategy for an online language learning service:
Vision: To provide a convenient tutor-pupil pairing experience.
- User goal 1: To enhance users’ access to language tutoring support.
- Business goal: To increase the number of individuals signing up for membership.
- Key result: 30% increase in new user sign-ups.
- Review current marketing initiatives
- Review the current process for pairing tutors and students.
- Conduct competitor research
- Conduct user research to identify product gaps
- Review tutor vetting and quality assurance processes
A UX strategy details how to keep a user’s experience with a brand in alignment with the overall company goals and objectives. Thus, ensuring that an organisation’s vision of what they want their customers to experience becomes a reality whilst staying within predetermined guidelines.
All things considered, an effective user experience strategy should be holistic and customer-centred with steps to make it better in the future. This means getting a detailed understanding of users’ behaviours, expectations, and needs through extensive qualitative and quantitative user research.
Leveraging a well-curated UX strategy can help prevent development errors and miscommunication between team members.
So, deploying a clear and comprehensive UX strategy can be the difference between delivering a product with long-term success and one that falls short of user expectations.
Need help to create a comprehensive UX strategy for your upcoming project? Contact us to initiate a discussion.