8 Steps To Crafting Your Own UX Strategy
A consolidated guide to what UX strategy is, how UX Strategy helps, and steps to creating an effective one
If there's one thing you can't escape in today's world, it's user experience (UX). The success of your company depends on it. User experience has become a strategic asset in many digital sectors, including e-commerce, mobile apps, development, and business software.
UX strategy is key to any company's growth and success rate. Think about it: how your users interact with your products will determine how well your products or website converts. The better experience you provide, the more happy customers you will get. Simply put, the user experience of your product is directly related to its success rate. If the user doesn't like or understand the design or function of your product, they won't use it. And if they don't use it, it will be difficult for them to become a repeat customer or even a first-time buyer of your product.
What is UX strategy?
UX strategy is a strategic planning process that considers the needs of the real consumers of the brand and connects each customer touchpoint with a user experience that the company intends to create. This enriching and interactive process, a crucial step in the product design process, allows the implementation of solutions for increased usability, better user experience, and as a result, increased overall business performance.
The UX strategy you lay down must also align with the business's identity and its goals. Creating a UX strategy should be one of the first steps you as a business should take to make it most effective.
A UX strategy should be in place even before you start your design process, as it tells your entire team — not just your UX designer — what they're trying to accomplish and how they will get there.
How can a UX strategy help?
When everything is going in the right direction, and you're focused on meaningful tasks, you'll be able to deliver value to your customers. Keeping yourself 'on-brand' enables your customer to build an emotional connection with your business, strengthening customer loyalty. These are just a few reasons why having a UX strategy is crucial to current and future business success.
A good UX strategy also ensures that the target users' needs and goals are incorporated into every step of product development and that the focus stays on solving their problems as the team moves forward.
UX strategy gets your team on board
A UX strategy ties the planned design directly to business objectives, helping leaders see the value in their actions.
UX strategy provides clarity for your team
A UX strategy provides a roadmap for designers, developers, and other stakeholders. It outlines who's responsible for what and when they must deliver on their responsibilities. This helps keep everyone on the same page, which makes it easier to provide consistent experiences across multiple products and platforms.
UX strategy improves communication across your team
A UX strategy includes information about how products or services will be delivered, how they will be measured, and how progress will be tracked over time. These are essential for effective communication between teams working on different aspects of your program.
UX strategy aligns your team around common goals and metrics
Aligning teams around common goals ensures that everyone works toward a singular vision instead of multiple goals at once or in isolation from one another (which can cause confusion). Aligning teams around metrics ensures everyone has clear expectations about how work should be evaluated and rewarded.
How to create a UX strategy?
Here are the eight actionable steps that you can use when creating your very own UX Strategy! Sounds good? Then let's get into it!
- Do the upfront research and discovery
- Set your goals
- Conduct UX Research
- Outline the Design
- Test your ideas
- Keep Evolving
1. Know Where you are.
Start by looking around and assessing the current state of the product and what global challenges the business faces. It's, of course, critical to first understand your current reality. Understanding your current situation is vital to identify what you need going forward. This includes an analysis of several areas:
The most robust foundation you will lay to build a UX strategy for your product is by first evaluating its current state and its global challenges. Understanding your current reality is imperative to know what you need going forward.
There are several areas you need to look at before moving to the next step :
- Your business goals.
- What are your customer needs and expectations?
- What problems do customers face when interacting with your product?
- How are you currently solving these problems?
- The competitive landscape.
- Organizational structure and culture.
2. Set your goals
What are you trying to achieve with your new user experience strategy? what are the KPIs that need to be improved? Once you have taken a good look at your current state and the challenges your business is facing, setting the goals on how you want to be perceived in the future becomes easy!
You must know who you are designing for before you start designing. Data that you collect from the first step helps you define some specific metrics by which to gauge the success of your design. Be specific about what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it; also, be clear about how you will know when you have reached your goal.
3. UX Research
Outlining the goals and objectives helps you understand what you are trying to achieve, and now we need to address the part "how will you achieve that?" To outline a solid UX strategy, you must do a lot of research. And the best way to do this is by communicating with the different sets of people associated with your product to get different viewpoints and a complete understanding of what people expect and want from your product.
The three most important categories of people who matter to your business and should be included in your research are Users, stakeholders, and Competitors.
Users: To create a good user experience, you need to know who your users are and their needs. It is crucial to gain a comprehensive knowledge of your user base. The most loved features, UX designs of the successful product launches in the past, the changes that you made earlier that resulted in lower traffic, and many more like these. These are the people that make you or break you. Knowing them inside out by asking direct questions, their likes, and dislikes, and observing their behavior with the product will help you go a long way. You can use MockFlow's User Persona Powerup to define each user category in detail.
Stakeholders: The people who have the final say in your project are the people who make significant decisions about it. They often pay for it, and they determine if it is successful or not. It's essential to understand their perspective about the product and also what they expect out of it.
Competitors: Lastly, don't rule out your competitors because that will help you understand what you are against. To do this, you will need to conduct a detailed study on your competitors and their performance in their respective fields. The study will help you identify what they are doing right and wrong and also give you insights on how you can make your product better than theirs.
The insights you gain from conducting research with different groups of people will contribute immensely to the success of your product.
4. Outline the Design
Once you've laid the groundwork, it's time to start bringing action to the design process. Even though your team is clear on the goals you're trying to achieve, this step can be highly time-consuming. That's actually a good thing—it means you need to brainstorm your ideas and collaborate with your team before moving on to prototyping.
Implementing feedback and reiterations at this stage is much easier than in later stages. Look for a tool, like MockFlow, that is easy to use and provides good collaborative features to help speed up this process.
5. Test your Ideas
Finally, the moment has arrived. Your beta version is ready, and you should now test it with its real users. At this stage, you will know whether your plans align with your users' needs. When it comes to user experience (UX), there is no better way to figure out if your plans are on track than by actually testing them with users.
Testing your UI design with a beta launch allows you to learn from your initial foray into the marketplace and make improvements before launching a full-scale launch. Even if you have done extensive research and know what success looks like for your product or service, you can't say for sure until you test it with real people who represent your target audience. This article will help you get more details on how to run a successful beta testing phase.
So make sure to keep track of the parameters, like:
- If users are performing the actions you want them to perform?
- If users can reach your CTA?
- What are the pages they are visiting if they are exploring more?
Set a time limit for your beta version and collect this valuable data that is going to help you in your next step.
6 . Evaluate
As you've made your way through the previous steps, you may have found yourself collecting a lot of data. So what's the point of collecting that data if it isn't going to be used efficiently?
Start by reviewing all the data you collected in the previous step and try to identify negative and positive trends. Then, implement those things that align with your brand values. Look carefully at the designs of the pages they stayed longest and how it differs from those with the highest bounce rate. Consider each of these things because that will undoubtedly give you room to improve your User Experience. There are a lot of tools that can help you do this effectively.
It's time to take what you've learned and make some changes. For example, if users are struggling to find something on your site, you might add a search bar or create an FAQ page where they can find the information they need.
Sometimes this change process is more subtle – for example, once we designed a new way for users to sign up for our service, we found that they were spending less time on the registration form because it was easier to navigate. So once you've made changes, test again! Please don't go out too wild about it because, honestly, you will keep making changes every now and then, but it is essential to keep track of how your users respond to each of these changes to help you track what works for you and what doesn't!
8. Keep Evolving
Users are constantly changing, and so is how they interact with your product. So, it's vital to relook at your UX strategy regularly, keeping the new technology and design trends in mind to stay ahead of your competitors and always provide a fantastic user experience to both old and new users.
The guiding principle of UX leadership is to empower your designers to explore and discover the best possible user experience. User research and frequent feedback loops lay the foundation for continual improvement throughout development—reducing the chance for poor design decisions to sneak into your product. It may be tempting to jump straight into design or engineering work, but keeping user needs in mind from the beginning will save you time in the long run. Put your UX strategy first, and you'll be well on your way to creating a truly excellent user experience.