What is a UX Strategy
UX strategy can be defined as a long-term plan for developing a user experience that aligns with the vision of a company. To better understand what this term means, we shall separately analyze its two components, UX and strategy.
UX or user experience, as you must know, deals with the users’ feelings when they interact with a product or service. To simplify our understanding, we can split it into three parts- visual design, content design, and interaction design. Visual design deals with how things look, while content design takes care of the role words play in adding a brand personality and creating a friendly introduction. Interaction design is more about how the design communicates through actions. To improve user experience, one must work on all three aspects.
Strategy is a word that is widely used in relation to visions and missions. In simple words, we can define strategy as a clear-cut roadmap devised to achieve specific goals. A strategy should explicitly identify three things- where we are now, where we expect to reach, and how to reach there. A good strategy will help an organization analyze the current situation, outline the future destination, and develop a roadmap.
Combining these two, we can say that a UX strategy should address the following aspects:
A detailed understanding of a company’s current design and performance
A clear vision of what the user experience should be and identification of preset limitations
An accurate perception of target users, stakeholders, user behaviour, and expectations
Identifying the measures that need to be taken to achieve the objectives
An analysis of the current UI UX design trends and competitors
A set of metrics to measure the progress and success
Thus, an effective strategy must span across the entire user journey. It must be a long-term plan with a futuristic vision and an ability to scale and adapt as per changing user needs.
Why is UX Strategy Important
A group of people doing data analysis
The adaption to digital has introduced significant changes in consumer behaviour. New technologies have arrived at a fast pace and have succeeded in creating a space in the consumer world. Compared to it, the adaptation of businesses to digital technologies has been slow. This change in pace has created a gap in the brand experience- that is, a difference in what the brand promises and what the customer receives.
A UI UX strategy can help to bring about consistency around brand identity among customers, thereby improving their experience. It can help organizations develop a rational experience at all user touchpoints. Some ways in which it can aid businesses are:
Define clear goals: Having a well-defined goal can help to save a lot of time and effort. It guides you to direct your energy on the right path, ensuring that you achieve what you want without any confusion. User experience strategy can help to devise this goal and develop means to carry it out and measure the progress.
Bring clarity: According to research, an investment of $1 in UX brings a return of $100. Most companies invest in UX to increase their ROI, but they may not be clear about the benefits of UX design or how it helps their business. UX strategy can help companies see exactly what UX design will achieve, how it will be done, and its benefits.
Improve understanding: In an organization, the concerns of a UX designer, developer, or CEO will be different. Their focus will be on different things and to achieve different targets. A comprehensive strategy can bring them all on the same page regarding the understanding between UX design and business goals.
Prioritize features: Solving for every use case is not a practical approach, especially when there are budget and time constraints. That is why prioritizing important features is necessary. A solid strategy can help to create a well-defined feature list, making it easy to address what needs to be taken care of first.
Align brand promises: Often, brand promises fail to align with user experience. When users do not receive what a brand promises, the customer attrition rate increases. A UI UX design strategy helps companies analyze what they are promising, identify the gap occurring during execution, and work towards eliminating it.
Validate assumptions: By employing various UX research methods and gauging different business propositions, strategists can help back up plans with concrete data. This ensures that you are not working on assumptions and have a solid ground to stand on, thus minimizing risks.
How to Create a Good UX Strategy
The steps towards creating a good UX strategy can be grouped into three major phases. They are assessing the current state, identifying the final objectives, and devising ways to reach there. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these phases.
To create a plan for the future, we have to first identify where we stand at the present. Analyzing the present performance will show us the issues and limitations of the current design. Taking a look at certain product metrics such as customer conversion rate, customer lifetime value, net promoter score, etc., helps to get a clear identification of a design’s performance. A UX consultant can guide you effectively in this stage.
Along with it, implementing UX research methods like usability testing, accessibility evaluation, and diary study can help to perceive user’s experiences and pain points. And to get a broader overview, it’s good to perform competitive research. It will help in understanding market trends, competitor strategies, prices, etc. You can compare these parameters with yours to identify what all must be changed.
Once a good understanding of the current state is achieved, the next phase is to look at the end goals that are to be achieved. Here, you need to identify what aspects need to be changed from the present design, what all must be fulfilled in the future design, and how the design behaviour should be transformed.
Goals must be set regarding costs, revenue, user engagement, and so on. It’s important to keep the goals realistic, clear, and measurable. If you can involve your entire team and stakeholders in the discussion phase, it will be beneficial as you may get more ideas and solutions. Performing a design audit will also give you useful inputs.
a person looking at a chart
You are clear where you stand, and you have identified where to go- so now the question is how to get there. Here, we need to devise a clear plan considering all the objectives. It’s also important to keep in mind factors like budget, timeline, and resource availability. Both technical aspects, as well as business aspects, must be considered while creating the roadmap.
Along with providing a satisfactory experience for users, the UX design must also contribute to increasing business revenue. The UI UX designers must make strategic choices to realize the goals and also create a reliable measurement framework to track the progress.
These are the three major phases involved in creating a good user experience strategy. Some helpful tips to consider throughout the process are:
Always keep the user at the forefront while devising the strategy. Creating revenue for businesses is important, but the priority must remain with the user at all times.
Make space for business objectives in the UI UX design strategy by developing an intelligent combination of UX goals and business goals.
Take into account all of the user touchpoints with a brand. That is, not just the purchasing process, but also consider advertisements, customer service, service termination, etc.
Optimize the strategy with UX design principles like speed and accessibility in mind to create a holistic user experience.
Five Best Practices for UX Strategy
UX strategy group discussion
Creating a UX strategy may sound easy in concept, but it has a lot of practical difficulties. Following certain best practices can help to make the UX design process more easier to carry out. So, let’s take a look at five of them.
Research: Never skip research when it comes to developing a strategy. Research gives you facts, valid points, and a detailed look at the current state of affairs.
Goals: You need to have a clear, long-term goal to devise a perfect strategy. If your goals are vague and not modeled for the long run, your efforts won’t pay off, and you will just end up wasting time and money.
Flexibility: While developing plans, set a leeway in case something doesn’t work out as expected. It is good to keep your strategy flexible so that any alterations or changes can be integrated if required.
Test: Once you have devised a strategy, go through it to catch any errors. Get feedback from different people and analyze them thoroughly to see if anything can be improved.
Usable and approachable: Make sure that the strategy is approachable and does not seem intimidating. Keep it simple, usable, and straightforward.