Great products do not just happen, they are results of several meticulous and well-thought-out planning processes which take place before the work even begins. UX design involves the creation of a digital product which meets user’s needs and solves a problem. Coming up with a product that solves a problem will always require lots of brainstorming, skills and planning and this brainstorming and planning processes are what makes up the UX design strategy.
UX Design Strategy
UX Design strategy involves the fresh idea to create a new product, the end result and everything in between. UX design strategy has to do with aligning your ideas with the company’s brand identity and the desired user experience.
Jamie Levy, a UX design strategist, defines UX strategy as “the process that should be started first, before the design of a digital product begins. It’s the vision of a solution that needs to be validated with real potential customers to prove that it’s desired in the marketplace. Although UX design encompasses numerous details such as visual design, content messaging, and how easy it is for a user to accomplish a task, UX strategy is the ‘Big Picture.’ It is the high-level plan to achieve one or more business goals under conditions of uncertainty”.
Some of the common issues user experience designers face is the lack of a strategy which most times lead to Overemphasis on brand’s needs and underemphasis on users needs and vice versa. What this means is that without a UX design strategy, it is very easy to create a product which does not have a balance between the user’s needs and the business goals and vision.
UX designers often prioritize practical UX skills such as prototyping and wireframing, UI design, journey mapping, UX research, etc over UX design strategy skills. While these other skills are essential, it is important for UX practitioners to grow their strategic skills as this is what is needed to create a balance.
The Scopes for a UX design strategy can either range to cover a single product or can cover a range of multiple products and services; or even the entire organization. Regardless of the range and coverage, a strong UX design strategy ensures that user-centered insights and goals are integrated with the business goals.
Having a UX design strategy is just not really enough; UX designers need to also be able to clearly articulate how effective executing the strategy will be and how best to execute the strategy for optimal results.
Why UX strategy is important
A well-defined UX design strategy is just as extremely important as your brand’s mission statement and goals. A user experience strategy guides UX teams and helps them understand elements that come in play when conceptualizing and designing new digital products.
A UX design thinking process focuses primarily on the user and users pain points which is great. But, without a UX strategy, designers may easily get distracted from the brand and its goals while focusing mostly on the user. A UX strategy creates a balance between the organization and user and helps to align product and brand experiences.
Here are five essential reasons why UX design strategy is important
- UX strategy helps to keep brand’s stakeholders updated on user experience and the role of UX design in an organization.
- A UX design strategy outlines UX research and UX design processes
- And these defines how best to measure successes associated with UX
- Facilitates the monitoring and analysis of user behavioral patterns and personas
- Aligns the company’s promises and visions with the user experience
Tenets of UX design strategy
Jaime Levy, describes four principles that form the basis of UX – the key elements that work hand in hand to make a UX strategy effective.
- Business strategy
The principles that guide how an organization competes in its industry and business sector and the important areas to pay attention to in order to achieve business objectives and increase revenue.
- Value innovation
Company value innovation can be accomplished when organizations focus on the primary and unique utility of a product which makes it essential and creates an experience that is indispensable in several aspects of users’ lives.
- User search validation
Contrary to outrightly approaching a proposed product as something entirely valuable to the users, it is important that it gets tested by its hypothetical customers to help designers make informed decisions.
- Killer user experience design
After putting everything in place, it is time to create a product interface that is functional and meets user expectations.
Creating an effective UX design strategy
Whether you are an expert or just a beginner or even still planning to start a career in UX design, it is important to know that the ability to craft an effective UX strategy is one of the most valuable and marketable UX design skills.
Here are some steps to creating an effective UX design strategy
Define your goals
One very important reason for creating a UX design strategy is to keep organization and user goals in line. It’s essential to clearly define the aim of the product and what you and your team are hoping to achieve with the entire UX design process.
Outline what your team hopes to achieve with the product and how it is going to impact the user. You want to ask yourselves some important goal defining questions such as:
- What new product or feature do you want to create?
- What problem will this product solve?
- How can you define a successful user experience?
- What are the research we need to carry out on our users?
- What revenue goals need to be met?
- What is the team’s financial budget?
- What is the time duration for the product?
- How can the organization performance be maximized?
After you have outlined your objectives, you can now plan your UX research and methods that you’ll employ to reach product goals.
Do your research
Creating a product that solves a problem requires several forms of research. This is because in order to create a functional product you need a complete knowledge and understanding of what people expect from the website or application. You will want to communicate with several different groups of people – The users and different stakeholders.
Outline the Design
Now that you’ve done your homework and have a good idea of what users expect from your product, it’s time to start drafting out some designs. This stage of your UX strategy will require lots of brainstorming before your team can start developing a “final” set of wireframes or prototypes for feedback.
It is important to map the path of the user experience which is done through the design. This is done to determine and understand how and what each user will do as they engage with the product.
Test and Evaluate
After mapping out your design, you will need to carry out tests and evaluate your results. The test period can often be a demanding period for designers as this is where you find out if the product is going to work as designed. Will the users use the product as you expect? Will they even find it good enough to use at all? What happens if it doesn’t work?
Test the product and evaluate the elements of the design that are working and the ones that are not working
Users stay on the working pages for longer times, therefore you want to evaluate and determine the difference from pages that are not working. Also determine if you can take the results from your evaluations and apply them more universally across the design?
Revise and Improve
Now, it’s time to take all that research, testing and evaluations and make revisions in order to improve the product functionalities and user experience either in a large scale or small scale.
UX design involves lots of repeated processes that are taken to make sure a product comes out near perfect but a constant thing in the process is the UX design strategy. Once it is created and set, everything follows the set strategy up to actualization.
If you are a UX designer looking to get more knowledge on your skills and how to best improve them. You can check out SimplifiedUX for patterns to test your skill and grow effectively.