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Let’s break down the terms - UX and strategy

What is UX and why is it important

When you are working on a product or service, every company or a non-profit needs to provide the best user experience so that the users achieve what they hope to achieve by using their products or services.

Eg: For a company — If a website that files taxes on your behalf doesn’t do the work then you as a user will be frustrated and would never go back to the website.

Eg: For a non-profit like a government website — If users come to check for any visa issue and don’t find it then that user might get deported.

What is a strategy and why is it important

In a general you might know, a strategy is a plan, a plan to execute something. But a strategy is not just a plan, it is an outcome. Strategy gets us to the desired outcome. It is how we are going to get there.

Eg: You want to travel to Japan (hopefully 2021). What do you do? You inform the office that you will be on leave. You start looking at places you want to visit. You take into account budget, convenience, and other factors. You find that renting a car and travelling to the near city is much cheaper but it is time-consuming than taking trains. You make trade-offs when making decisions — budget vs time. Basically, you make a plan from your present situation to the future which you want to achieve.

What is a UX strategy

As mentioned by Jaime Levy in her book, UX strategy

UX strategy is the process that should be started first, before the design or development 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.

UX strategy lies in the mid-phase to take you from the initial to the final phase
UX strategy lies in the mid-phase to take you from the initial to the final phase

UX strategy involves coming up with a plan to answer the below questions and more even before diving into design and development.

  • What do you need to build?
  • How do you provide value to your users?
  • What makes you different from competitors?
  • How do you generate revenue?
  • Where are the resources that you are going to build it is going to come from?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How do you know if you are on the right path and what to measure?
  • How do you provide a good experience?

A UX strategy lies at the intersection of UX design and business strategy.

The Four Tenets of UX Strategy:

1. Business model and strategies

Every Company has the vision to reach somewhere in the future. They have several products that have their own mission and will eventually help them achieve the company vision. There are different business strategies for each product which will help the product grow and sustain itself.
Eg: For a mature product, a company will have different strategies compared to a new product which they just launched. The goals for each of the products will be different and so will the objectives to reach those business goals.

2. Value proposition

The value you are delivering to the customers. We must continuously research, redesign, and remarket to keep up with the rapidly evolving online marketplace and customer values.

3. Validated User Research

User research is how you validate if the products/service you are building is desirable. You should have an experimental mindset and invalidate all your assumptions.

4. Excellent UX Design

You need to come up with a design that is serving the need of the users and tied to the business goals.
Eg: If the company is looking for growth, you need to make sure how your UX decision is helping in customer acquisition.

Product Strategy and Design Strategy

If the above 4 tenants remind you of the double diamond process, then you are right. We can divide UX strategy into product strategy and design strategy. These 2 together with deliver the value to the user and generate revenue for the company.

Product strategy lies in first 2 phase and Design strategy in last 2 phase of Double Diamond design process
Product and Design strategy as seen in the Double Diamond design process

Conclusion

UX strategy is a plan to generate an outcome, which is to provide value to customers so that they keep coming back and generate revenue for companies.

Credits

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jaime Levy
UX Strategy Means Business by Jared Spool

Product Designer with an experimental mindset

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