What is UX Strategy?
While UX design is the process behind creating delightful, user-friendly products, UX Strategy is the plan behind the work that determines the direction, deadlines, and metrics for the product.
A good UX strategy helps establish a cohesive experience between a product and the brand as a whole.
Why is UX Strategy Important?
Without a clear strategy behind it to guide the work, UX design lacks the context it needs to address and solve user experience problems in a productive way.
UX strategy answers the deeper questions of meaning and purpose behind each product:
- Why are we creating this product in the first place?
- What do we want to achieve?
- How will we know when we achieve these goals and objectives?
- Who are we helping with this product?
Once these questions are defined, a product team can benefit from clarity and alignment in their work. Each team member can move forwards within their own area of expertise with greater confidence.
Beyond the benefits of team alignment, a good UX strategy also helps your team to quickly overcome obstacles as they arise:
- Issues of team bandwidth can refer to the goals defined in the UX strategy to identify which features need to be prioritized, and which can be set aside for a later iteration.
- User research sessions can become more efficient and productive, since you can design them around your goals and user personas that are defined within the strategy.
How To Create a UX Strategy
UX strategy may result in a document that governs future UX design work on all products within a business. It can supply design principles, company standards and values, insights about customers, and more. UX strategy coordinates and standardizes the work of multiple designers and teams over time. It may also lead to better brand loyalty, customer relationships, and sales conversions.
To create an effective UX design strategy, the UX design team must bring together knowledge and data behind elements like:
- Researching ideal customers and the market, using multiple UX research techniques
- Understanding the competition and their UX design principles
- Understanding the company’s mission and direction
- Technical design skills & an awareness of multiple possible UX design approaches
- A vision of a great product experience.
While there is no definitive process that needs to be followed when you sit down to create your own UX strategy, there are four general phases that you will work through:
Phase 1: Clarify Your Vision
Why do you want a UX strategy in the first place? Are there past errors or mistakes that you're trying to avoid? Are there specific success metrics that you're hoping to achieve through this planning?
By identifying what it is that you're trying to achieve, you open the door to be able to dial in and answer more specific questions like:
- Do we have the resources to achieve X goal in X timeline?
- What new talent or tools do we need to achieve our goal?
- Are there any patterns or habits that we’ll need to change to make this happen?
- What do we need to know about our users in order to create this product?
Phase 2: Set Your UX Strategy Goals
At this point, you've defined what you're hoping to achieve. Now it's time to break it down into specific, measurable, achievable goals.
This might require a bit of research to identify what reasonable UX strategy goals might be for your product and niche. What’s important, as you dial in on what you want to achieve, is that you avoid generalized, non-trackable goals like “make the product more user-friendly” or “keep customers around longer.” Instead, rephrase your goals into something that’s quantifiable, like:
- 15% increase in conversions from free to paid customers
- 10% decrease in customer churn rates
You might take a look at what competitors are doing, to see if there are gaps or opportunities to stand out and gain a competitive advantage.
Phase 3: Present the Strategy
When you present your UX strategy to stakeholders and team members, you open the door to feedback and critique.
If there are managers or stakeholders who don't understand what UX design is in the first place, you might need to spend a large amount of time sharing more meaningful insight into the role that UX design plays in the product design process, as well as how it contributes to customer retention and revenue.
Regardless of their background with UX design, it's important to maintain a high level of receptivity with the feedback you receive on your UX strategy. A product manager might now understand the ins and outs of UX design, but they also may have a valid concern about elements like bandwidth and prioritizing feature goals for the product.
Phase 4: Refine & Revisit
As your UX team moves into product development and the user experience design process, it's always a good idea to revisit the strategy on a regular basis.
UX strategy is an ever-evolving process. The market for your product might shift. Competitors will emerge and grow. New insights will appear from your user interviews.
In short: there will be many reasons why you might have to pivot your strategy multiple times throughout the course of the project. The more receptive you (and your team) are to revisiting goals, the stronger your product will be in the long run.