Feb 16, 2023
3 min read
It is said that one should never underestimate planning. The same rule applies to UX strategy if you want your digital product to be a success.
What is the user experience strategy?
User experience (UX) strategy refers to a plan for meaningful and seamless user experiences of products or services. It aims to create a product or a service that provides a positive and relevant experience for the users. A UX strategy – usually in the form of a roadmap – is based on various methods of research, design, and testing so that the final product is guaranteed to meet the needs of its users. A UX strategy can be applied to a digital product, such as a website, app, or software, as well as physical products. It covers the entire process of making a product, from the idea to its implementation and maintenance.
UX strategy vs UX design
You’re probably wondering how UX strategy and UX design work together and how they differ. As it was mentioned above, UX strategy refers to the planning of crafting a good user experience. Its goal is to understand what users want, need, and aim for. UX design is the process of designing the product – creating wireframes and prototypes of the product as well as testing and iterating the designs (you can read more about it in the article "What is UX design and why is it important").
UX strategy defines the approach to creating a user experience, and UX design crafts the user experience. Or let’s make it even simpler – UX strategy is a plan for a user experience, and UX design is its implementation.
What are the three elements of a UX strategy?
A successful UX strategy relies on three key components: research, design principles and evaluation and iteration.
1. User research
User or UX research refers to collecting information about the potential product or service users. A good, exhaustive research includes both qualitative research (e.g. interviews, surveys) and quantitative research (e.g. analytics, usability testing) methods to get a comprehensive picture of the potential user. UX strategy depends on UX research to ensure that the product’s design and development decisions are based on evidence, not just assumptions of what the users may want. We discussed UX research and its importance in our article "What is UX research – a guide for UX researchers".
2. Design principles
Design principles are product or service design guidelines, usually considering accessibility, usability, and brand consistency. UX strategy establishes these principles based on data collected in user research and brand strategy. It guarantees that all design decisions are in compliance with them.
3. Evaluation and iteration
Evaluation and iteration is the process of assessing the product’s effectiveness and changing it as needed. This involves user testing, data analysis, and gathering feedback. It’s crucial during maintenance as it ensures continuous improvement of a product’s user experience.
All three – UX research, design principles, and evaluation and iteration – help form a thorough UX strategy, as they are the base for understanding and meeting user needs. UX research allows UX strategists to understand what users are looking for. Design principles guide UX designers’ decisions while designing a user-friendly product. Evaluation and iteration enable regular enhancement of the product, ensuring that it meets users’ needs as time passes. Each of them is necessary to create a UX strategy that guarantees the success of the product.
Why is UX strategy important?
User experience is now more important than ever. Every digital product needs to be user-friendly to succeed in the market; if the users don’t enjoy your product or find it too complicated to use, they will move on to a competitor. UX strategy ensures that the final product or service you offer stands out in the market; it’s innovative, user-friendly and answers your users’ needs.
UX strategy and planning give you the edge in product design and development. A well-executed UX strategy improves customer satisfaction and engagement with the product as it’s based on extensive user research and follows a user-centric design. This leads to an increase in the company’s revenue – higher conversions and customer retention and reduced bounce rates. A positive user experience gives the product a competitive advantage since it makes it easier for customers to remember it and therefore differentiate it from its competitors.
In the long run, UX strategy is also cost-effective. UX strategy and research put the user at the centre of the design process from the beginning. It allows strategists and researchers to spot and resolve potential issues early on – before they’re too expensive to fix.
Finally, a UX strategy can be shown as a roadmap for product design and development. When UX strategists form a plan, their roadmap always includes maintenance to ensure a continuous product or service improvement. UX strategy helps the product design and development team stay up-to-date with user needs and keeps the product ahead of its competition.
As Tom Landry once said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan”, and that’s exactly what UX strategy is. It creates a plan for crafting the user experience and keeps the user at the centre of the entire product design and development process. With a UX strategy in place, you never stir away from what’s important: answering the needs of your users and making a product or a service that truly resonates with your target audience.
How to create a UX strategy?
Creating a UX strategy means transforming its key components – research, design principles, and evaluation and iteration – into a plan. Some of the crucial steps of creating a UX strategy include the following:
- Understanding business goals.
Make sure you understand both your business and your product goals so that your UX strategy aligns with the strategy you have for your company.
- Conducting UX research.
Conduct user research, collect customer data, and gather feedback from your audience.
- Determining personas and user journeys.
Use the collected data to create personas and user journeys so everyone on your team and other stakeholders are on the same wavelength.
- Establishing design principles.
Establish design principles and make a document that will guide your UI and UX design team. The design principles should be founded on the analysis of user research and be aligned with brand identity.
- Mapping the steps.
Make a roadmap and outline all the steps the product design and development team has to take to realise the UX strategy.
- Evaluating and iterating.
Don’t forget to regularly check the effectiveness of your product or service by gathering feedback from your users. Make necessary changes and keep your solution up-to-date with your users’ needs.
Keep in mind that UX strategy should have some flexibility. Research can, and at times should be done at various stages of the project, and user data should be one of the main drives for design decisions. If something changes and the UX strategy needs adjustments, don’t be afraid to tailor it to current needs.
UX strategy blueprint
A UX strategy blueprint is a visual depiction of a UX strategy that outlines its steps and processes. It’s a roadmap for UI/UX design and development that clearly shows the research results, design principles, and means of evaluating and iterating.
A UX strategy blueprint is a great tool for communicating UX strategy to all the stakeholders. It will help ensure that everyone shares the vision of the product or service’s user experience throughout the project.
How to become a UX strategist?
Becoming a UX strategist requires, first and foremost, a great passion for crafting positive user experiences. Everything else you can learn or gain.
So if you’re thinking of becoming a UX strategist, you should try to educate yourself on user experience. Some degrees can help in that, for example, design, human-computer interaction, psychology or other related fields. But a degree isn’t necessary these days – you can also check user experiences courses and certifications (e.g. Certified User Experience Professional) and start there.
Experience is also crucial for a UX strategist. They say practice makes perfect for a reason. You can learn a lot by working on real projects, so apply for internships, freelancing, or try working on your personal projects (e.g. your own website). As you gain experience, add your successful projects to your portfolio. A portfolio will show a potential employer your skills and capabilities, so present examples of user research, design principles, and outcomes of the projects.
If you’re looking to increase your hiring chances, you can specialise in a specific UX area, like accessibility or usability testing, or in a UX for a specific field, e.g. medical or technical. It will increase your value to potential employers and narrow your own search.
Finally, the most important thing to remember is that UX constantly evolves. Technology advances and people want to enjoy it and not think for hours about how to use this new piece of tech. After all, technology is here to make our lives easier. So keep up-to-date with new technologies and best practices. Never assume that you know it all, but rather stay open to new information and ways of doing things. Network during conferences, read industry blogs, join the vast UX community and use it to your advantage.
A UX strategy will help you build a product with a seamless user experience. It transforms your research into actionable insights and helps align the UX of your product or service with your brand identity and company goals. As specialists in digital consulting, we never enter a project without it. It’s a crucial part of our approach – we want to make things happen. That vision you have? We’re the ones who can turn a dream first into a goal and a plan and then craft it into a success story.