Have you ever wondered how brands like Google, Apple, or Airbnb nail the user experience every step of the way and at every touchpoint? Well, behind the UX design of those successful products lies a thought-through winning UX strategy. A well-crafted UX strategy is the secret sauce to a cohesive, flawless user experience, and in this article we are going to show you how to create one.
Table of contents
✅ A well-designed UX strategy is the secret sauce to flawless user experiences.
🔥 UX strategy involves conducting in-depth user research.
🐝You can conduct user research using all-in-one tools like UXtweak.
💡 Alignment with business goals and user needs is an integral part of any UX strategy.
What is a UX strategy?
A UX strategy is a plan that defines how a business intends to create a meaningful and flawless user experience for the target users of a digital product or service. An effective UX strategy helps the organization to create and operate on a shared vision of the desired state of the user experience while setting clear objectives and creating a plan to achieve them.
A lot of the UX professionals out there are not quite sure how to define a UX strategy. User research and an in-depth understanding of the target audience, as well as the business goals are critical to defining and course-correcting any UX strategy.
Why is UX strategy important?
Creating a well-thought-through UX strategy can make or break your digital product. A well-crafted strategy can offer a host of advantages to a business, yet on the flip side, the absence of a UX strategy can prove to be catastrophic for a digital product or service.
Your UX strategy should be the north star of your organization and here is why:
A UX strategy always comes on the tail of user research, and thus ensures that the user is always at the center of the design decisions. This user-centric route to success will not disappoint as it will lead to higher satisfaction, as well as brand loyalty.
With user research being the backbone of an effective UX strategy, we can ensure that we are taking a data-driven approach to the development of the product and track user behavior while generating meaningful insights.
Aligns design with business strategy
Another important benefit that highlights the critical importance of a UX strategy is that it helps to align the design with the business strategy. Designing a meaningful product is one thing, but making sure this is aligned with the specific needs and goals of the business is of utmost importance for a successful UX strategy.
Allows for scalability
Furthermore, another great advantage of a well-crafted UX strategy is that it allows for scalability. This means that the user experience of a product can be seamless throughout its different features, but also across different products and services that are operating under a particular brand. In turn, this allows for coherence and consistency in the user experience.
An effective UX strategy can be the driver of innovation within a company. UX professionals can use their UX strategies not only to stay at the forefront of innovation, but also to push the boundaries to exceed user expectations by taking advantage of emerging trends and new technologies.
This can, in turn, have a host of advantages for a business, with the most important being the ability to create a competitive advantage for the organization.
Creates brand reputation
An effective user experience strategy can lead to higher user satisfaction and enhanced loyalty. Additionally, it will ensure consistency across the different elements of the brand. And guess what? These are the ingredients to a successful brand story!
What are the main elements of a UX strategy?
A meticulous UX strategy consists of three main elements:
- the vision
- the goals
- the plan
It is worth noting that those three elements are interrelated and equally important. If you take away one of these three ingredients, your UX strategy is doomed to fail.
First comes the vision. The vision is the first main element of a UX strategy and it paints the picture for what the desired future state of the user experience is. This can include any aspirations that the UX team and founders have for the product when it comes to the user experience that they would ideally like to deliver to their target audience. This element of the UX strategy can act as the north star for UX professionals, leading them through the development of the product and should be referred to every time an important design decision needs to be made.
Then come the goals. Like with every other type of strategic planning, the next critical element of a killer user experience strategy is setting the goals that you need to achieve, both short term and in the long run, to achieve the vision that you and your team share about the user experience of your digital product or service. These goals should be clear and measurable and they should be aligned with any KPIs and any UX metrics that are set by the company.
Lastly, comes the plan. Having a clear, shared vision and well-defined goals for the user experience means nothing if you haven’t crafted an execution plan. The plan is the third and final element of a successful UX strategy and it consists of all the actions that need to be taken to meet the set goals and achieve the vision. It goes without saying that without a well-structured plan, the chances of getting where you want are not in your favor, so make sure you spend time on this latter part of your user experience strategy.
Of course, this is not the ultimate list! Depending on the approach that you decide to take when formulating your user experience strategy there might also be other elements that you should take into consideration.
Here is a handy table to navigate those:
What problems are you trying to solve?
Users who are not engaging
How are you going to measure success?
Page views, time on page, bounce rates, conversion rates
What areas of your strategy do you need to focus on?
User retention, user engagement, conversion
What is the stance you will take on upcoming tasks or challenges?
UX as a differentiation strategy
How to create a UX strategy?
Having in mind the three critical elements of a UX strategy, you can now formulate yours.
Here is a simplified three-step approach to get you started:
Step 1: Research
Your first step is to get a deep understanding not only of your target audience, but also of the business objectives. At this step, it is very important to have a clear picture of the needs of your intended users and the business goals. Your UX strategy should take those into consideration and facilitate their alignment. This is the phase where the magic happens.
The outcomes of your research will help you identify untapped opportunities and further refine your UX vision.
There is an array of research methodologies that you can use to better understand user behavior. At this discovery stage, you can conduct in-depth interviews with your target audience to get a deep understanding of their needs, wants, and expectations.
Stakeholder interviews are another key element of your strategy, as they allow to find out what parts of the strategy are crucial to align with the business goals. Conducting card sorting will help you better understand your users’ mental models and the way they expect your product to be structured.
Another great method to get both qualitative and quantitative data is running user surveys to complement your user interviews. On the basis of these early findings, you can also start building your UX artifacts, including your user personas that will help you delve into the needs of your real users.
Step 2: Goal Setting & Planning
The next step of your UX strategy creation is setting the goals, as well as a strategic plan around meeting those goals. You need to ensure that your goals are clear and measurable, are in line with the goals of the business, and do not go against the needs and wants of your target audience.
Once those goals are set, you and your design team will need to work on formulating a strategic plan that will ensure that all those goals will be achieved. This can include setting the milestones, key initiatives, as well as timelines for those to be achieved.
Step 3: Iterating
Like everything else within the UX realm, revisiting and iterating your UX strategy is an integral step to the success of the strategy. Creating a winning user experience strategy is a collaborative and iterative approach, so ongoing communication with the different stakeholders is critical.
Gathering user feedback and iterating to always stay aligned with the user and business needs will ensure that your UX strategy stays impactful throughout the product lifecycle and the ever-changing needs of the market!
What mistakes to avoid when creating a UX strategy?
We understand that crafting a user experience strategy can be a complex task with many hidden perils.
To ensure a spotless strategy, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:
- Losing sight of the big picture
This is one of the gravest mistakes in the history of user experience strategies. When crafting your user experience strategy, avoid focusing too much on the design details. Instead, focus on the big picture and always have in mind your UX vision.
- Scraping user research
As tempting as it might be, do not fall into this common trap! Scraping user research and basing the development of the product on hunches and intuition is a common mistake when it comes to UX strategies. Avoid this by allocating time to gather user insights through thorough user research.
- Ignoring business goals
Another common mistake is creating UX strategies that are disconnected from the wider business goals. To avoid this, make sure your user experience strategy is aligned with the business objectives.
- Creating a rigid UX strategy
Don’t create rigid UX strategies with an overcomplicated plan that cannot be adapted. Being too rigid in your user experience strategy approach can prevent you from constantly adapting to the ever-changing needs of today’s market.
- Creating a UX silo
Avoid creating silos when crafting your user experience strategy. Instead, promote collaboration between product teams and stakeholders to ensure transparency and alignment.
- Not documenting the strategy
Last but not least, not documenting the strategy and failing to update the strategy document every time there is an iteration can cause major confusion, making it difficult to create a shared vision across the board.
UX strategy examples
Here are 3 UX strategy examples from global brands that are nailing their UX strategy:
Focusing on user-centricity, Google’s user experience strategy puts simplicity and consistency at the forefront of their UX designs. This is a clear example of how a UX strategy can be translated into an unparalleled competitive advantage for the business and create strong brand loyalty.
Learn from the best by following their tips here.
Airbnb is yet another example that nails its UX strategy. What is remarkable here is that UX teams at Airbnb are focusing on driving user action and hence sales, while having the user at the heart of every UX decision. How? Well, their user experience strategy focuses heavily on personalization and the user’s ‘fear of missing out’.
When it comes to seamless UX strategies, Apple is at the top and offers free lessons in crafting pleasurable experiences. Apple always keeps the user at the core of its strategy. UX professionals at Apple use their user experience strategy to differentiate their products and innovate. This is a clear user experience strategy example that is translated into an unparalleled competitive advantage for the business.
UX strategy template
Here are some tried-and-tested templates to get started on your UX strategy:
- Miro has put together a highly detailed and easy-to-use user experience strategy canvas template. This is a comprehensive UX content strategy template that breaks down the design process into actionable steps for you to follow.
- Pitch’s UX Strategy template is another great resource to get you started on your first content strategy in UX. This fee template comes with step-by-step instructions for optimal usage.
- Slick plan offers a handy UX strategy blueprint on how to start building a successful UX strategy. This template gets extra points for being comprehensive and easy to follow.
A well-designed UX strategy is the secret sauce to creating flawless user experiences. You can use your strategy as the north star that will guide you and your team through product development and design decisions.
Having a well-defined and effective user experience strategy has a host of advantages, including aligning design with business goals and user needs, promoting scalability, and fostering innovation. There are 3 main elements for every successful UX strategy: the vision, the goals, and the plan. Adding those three elements into your UX strategy mix will ensure that you are always on track.
Don’t forget that user experience strategies are not static documents, so iterate where needed and always keep track of any changes to ensure a shared understanding of the UX strategy across the board and at all times. If you want to kick-start your user experience strategy, but do not know where to start, starting by conducting user research is always a great idea.
Back up your UX strategy with thorough user research with UXtweak! Register for your account today!