UX strategy: Fad or new world order?
Whenever something gets real, people start to ask for ‘strategy’. Without any vision. Where are the UX (design) visionaries?
“A big part of this change is a growing awareness of design outside of our field, partially due to the design profession’s efforts to educate others. Only 10 years ago a business magazine called to interview me about these strange positions we were hiring for that required having a deep sense of empathy and an ability to collaborate with others to design innovative solutions. That same magazine now has a regular design feature. It’s my belief that coverage in popular media, including books, articles, and blog posts highlighting what designers really do and how that adds value, has significantly helped the profession grow.”
Jon Innes a.k.a. /innesjon | @innes_jon ~ UX Magazine ★
Who needs UX strategy?
Something about eating and breakfast of UX in businesses.
“UX strategy has come into prominence in the past few years as a specialty area within the field of User Experience, as shown by the rapid increase in UX Strategist job titles and events such as the conference UX STRAT. For many of us who have been in the field for a long time, UX strategy is a counterbalance to efficiency-driven, product-centric methodologies like Agile, Lean Startup, and Lean UX. For others, it is a natural progression from basic UX design activities like wireframing to more rigorous, analytical activities such as formulating data-driven personas.”
(Paul Bryan a.k.a. @paulbryan ~ UXmatters) ★
How to grow your business by monitoring your UX strategy
Business and UX, from a strategic perspective (again).
“User experience in a company can be made superior by paying attention to various factors. Bringing good services and products to customers will directly have an impact on the business performance and results. There are various methodologies that one can use for monitoring the experience and bring about necessary changes to enhance it. Applications, software tracking systems and other useful tools and techniques can help in finding the right changes. To make sure your company offers the best to customers it is important to benchmark the user experience with these tools. Ultimately it involves delighting users so that they remain content and happy with the experience.”
(Rohan Salve ~ Techved Consulting) ★
Strategic UX: The art of reducing friction
Frictions are the usability issues of UX.
“In user experience, friction is defined as interactions that inhibit people from intuitively and painlessly achieving their goals within a digital interface. Friction is a major problem because it leads to bouncing, reduces conversions, and frustrates would-be customers to the point of abandoning their tasks. Today, the most successful digital experiences have emerged out of focusing on reducing friction in the user journey (…)”
(Victoria Young a.k.a. @victoriahyoung ~ Betterment) ★
Identifying a UX design strategy
UX culture eats…
“The concept of strategy can be fuzzy at best. And the word strategy tends to hold a different meaning depending on who you’re talking to. Jim Kalbach says that strategy needs to show causality. He defines it as a hypothesis of a desired position, and a belief about how you’re going to succeed and overcome challenges.”
(Jim Kalbach a.k.a. @jimkalbach ~ Brainsparks)
Defining user experience strategy
Different ways to define UX strategy with canvas or blueprint. A new #DTDT is born. We had a ‘There is no such thing as…’ before.
“UX strategy isn’t the blueprint, canvas, or definition you use. UX strategy is about the conversations you have and the alignment you achieve. As you start hacking your own approach to UX strategy, it’s good to remember two key elements: change and context.”
(Austin Govella a.k.a. @austingovella ~ AGUX)
UX strategy blueprint
First level of abstraction: a blueprint. Kind of a template.
“Once all of the elements have been agreed on, consolidate the strategy. A good, succinct strategy should only be about two pages long. Give it multiple forms to illustrate your intent to different audiences. Create a presentation, document and a graphic, as needed. Share the strategy as often as possible. It’s hard to over communicate: print it out, hang it up, start every meeting with your strategy slide, use it as dummy text in wireframes instead of lorum ipsum. Reiterate. Developing strategy is a craft, one that involves exploration and choice but also systematic thinking. The UX Strategy Blueprint helps you see all the moving parts in a single overview. In doing so, it simplifies strategy, making an abstract concept more tangible for all involved.”
(James Kalbach a.k.a. @jimkalbach ~ Experiencing Information)
There is no such thing as UX strategy
When people talk about it, there is such a thing by definition. Beauty, love, friendship, experts, you name it.
“2013 saw a lot of discussion around the topic of UX Strategy. In fact, there was at least one conference on the topic and a string of articles. However, all of this activity around a topic doesn’t actually mean it exists.”
(Jeff Gothelf a.k.a. @jboogie ~ Perception Is The Experience)
Designing digital strategies: Cartography
Designing mission, vision, and strategy. Making decisions with intent is the essence of design.
“As digital products and services come to comprise an increasingly important part of our everyday life, the division between the digital and the physical begins to blur. We can, for instance, see a washing machine on TV, read reviews of it online, purchase it on our phone, and have it installed by our local shop-all without leaving our computer. The sum total of these processes functions as a single, continuous experience. Designers can more prudently frame the experiences they create by incorporating ecosystem thinking into their process.”
(Sofia Hussain ~ UX Booth)
Five essential analytics reports for UX strategists
Behavioral data as input for strategy. Where’s the vision?
“Google Analytics is filled with very useful information for UX Strategists defining a baseline and tracking trends in order to define goals, strategies, and concepts for a brighter tomorrow.”
(Jennifer Cardello ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
Applied UX strategy: Maturity models
We have many maturity models, for usability (Nielsen), CX (Forrester) and now for UX.
“In a perfect world, companies would take a systematic approach to product design from their very first days. But, in reality, early product design efforts can be sporadic for various reasons – for instance, because a product must launch as soon as possible, there’s not enough money at the start, the user base must grow at the fastest rate possible, or the product idea changes constantly in trying to discover an effective business model. Why is this?”
(Yury Vetrov ~ UXmatters)
The intersection of user experience, customer experience and corporate strategy: The holy grail for 21st century business?
In the end, it all depends on the execution. Like always.
“UX and CX advocates and practitioners would do well to have a few beers together and explore how they can work to the common purpose of increasing customer uptake, loyalty, and advocacy across the entire ecosystem of their business’ interaction with their target market. And, senior executives need to lead that collaboration, if not mandate it. Their competitive position in the marketplace and future profitability may be at stake.”
(Chris Allen ~ HFI Connect)
The four levels of UX design
Driving towards UX strategy and UX foundational elements, components and patterns.
“The strategic and tactical aspects of UX are foreign to most folks, hence the typical ‘lipstick on a pig’ approach they call UX design. Knowing a few key things about strategy and tactics makes the difference between designing a struggling site and a successful one. The examples and tips illustrate successful approaches to UX design that you can apply to your site.”
(Larry Marine ~ Search Engine Watch)
The adaptive digital strategy framework
Adapting is the best thing to do with any strategy.
“Today we still see a large number of organizations that keep struggling to align social media and new emerging communication technologies with the overall firm strategy. Organizations should adapt, look in the mirror and recognize that they need to change because the world has changed. They should embrace new strategic frameworks to avoid getting caught up in the digital hype that hit them every day with new solutions and focus on what can actually help them achieve their business and communication objectives.”
(Andrea Vascellari a.k.a. @vascellari)
Developing a customer experience strategy
CX strategy for business peeps, including a design notion.
“Digital technologies are disrupting many industries but for each there are also new revenue opportunities to be had. A customer experience strategy is a fast way of uncovering the untapped revenue in your business.”
(Mark Cameron a.k.a. @MarkRCameron ~ Marketing Magazine)
User experience is more than design, it’s strategy
Systematic, deep thinking and research. Sounds academic.
“This is not an issue of corporations’ putting roles into silos. It’s a systemic problem of companies’ underestimating the importance of developing a deep understanding of their customers on an ongoing basis. More fundamentally, companies underestimate the great, untapped potential of UX professionals to leverage their deep understanding of customers at a strategic level within an organization. It’s time that we expand the role of User Experience beyond execution, beyond output, and yes, even beyond design.”
(Christopher Grant Ward ~ UXmatters)
Taking your seat at the strategy table: Three must-have leadership skills
Strategy for UX. But where’s the UX vision?
“When you take your place at the strategy table as a UX leader, lean in and ground yourself in your deep understanding of customer behavior. Make it central to how you express your product strategy. This customer-focused approach will allow you to provide unique value to the master plan when you practice and evolve the three conventional business skills that I shared from my journey.”
(Sara Ortloff Khoury ~ User Experience Magazine)
So you want to write a digital strategy?
Moving up the ladder means more strategic thinking, for clients a well.
“A digital strategy is not as intimidating as it sounds. It is just a document outlining how your company or client should handle the different aspects of digital from the website and mobile to email, social media and digital marketing. It doesn’t need to cover everything in huge depth (it would be unreadable if it did), but instead should establish some general approaches to these different areas. This post will provide you with a crash course on where to start and what kinds of things to include. I hope it proves useful.”
(Paul Boag ~ Boagworld)
Strategy and online: How online is changing the game and the playing field for strategy development
A great piece on being successful online, every designer, manager and marketeer should read.
“Strategy is about trying to take control and trying to win. Strategy is about trying to predict the future or at least enough of that future that will give you a competitive advantage. Strategy is about being specific. It is about helping you get from A to C by doing B. It’s about putting your cards on the table, placing your bets.”
(Gerry McGovern ~ CustomerCareWords)
Are personas still relevant to UX strategy?
They will always be a great starting point for the unknowns of empathy and UCD.
“There have been some who have proclaimed the impending demise of personas as a UX design approach since shortly after their introduction. While the optimal approach to creating and employing personas is still evolving—thanks to more useful data becoming available to design teams and new project-management methods—their usefulness has not yet diminished. If anything, personas have become even more useful because they put a human face on aggregated data and foster a user-centered design approach even within the context of efficiency-driven development processes.”
(Paul Bryan a.k.a. @paulbryan ~ UXmatters)