A good UX Design Strategy is essential to a successful digital product. How many businesses actually strategize with their users in mind, though?
At some point in the last 10 years, you’ve probably heard someone say “There’s an app for that”—and it’s true! Companies big and small identify gaps in the market and create innovative digital products to satisfy a need of their consumer. But, how many of these products live up to their promises?
There’s no shortage of digital products on the market today. If you want yours to stand out, the user experience needs to be as good as the idea. That’s where UX design strategy comes in!
UX design is fundamental in creating user-friendly websites and apps, but the perfect digital product doesn’t spring up from the ground overnight. The most effective products usually have a solid groundwork of research, evaluation, and ideation before designing even begins.
So, what is UX design strategy? And what’s in the secret sauce that makes this process so effective? CreateApe is here to show you how to lay the groundwork for the perfect product.
CreateApe’s UX Design Strategy
- Define business strategy
- Identify/interview stakeholders
- Competitive research and analysis
- Design goals
- User research and iteration
What is UX Design Strategy
UX Design strategy is a detailed plan for building a digital product that keeps the user experience aligned with the business goals of the company. This strategy is shaped by both qualitative and quantitative research about the users, stakeholders, and competitive market.
In the book UX Strategy, author Jamie Levy came up with a formula for the four tenets of UX strategy:
Business strategy + value innovation + validated user research + killer UX design = UX strategy.
The Four Tenets of UX Strategy
- Business Strategy - These are the company’s guiding principles for how it will position itself in the competitive market and still achieve its objectives. For long-term success, the company must continuously identify competitive advantages and find ways to leverage that against competitors.
- Value Innovation - This happens when companies align newness with utility and price. The combination of these three creates a lasting impression on the user and assigns value to the business.
- Validated User Research - Verify the solutions and confirm that the user will find value in the product. Go beyond observing and empathizing with the user and focus on getting direct, honest feedback from interacting with the product.
- Killer UX Design - A UX designer, strategist, or agency creates the design of the product based on the first three tenets and weaves UX into all online and offline touchpoints—creating a truly frictionless experience. (P.S. This is where CreateApe comes in. Wink wink nudge nudge.)
To get the best results, there should be a robust research and planning phase for every new product, service, or feature released by the company. This gives the UX designer critical insight into solutions that work for the user and the business.
Why is UX Design Strategy Important?
Obviously, it’s best to have a plan in place before starting a project. But why is a UX strategy so important for businesses creating digital products? Besides the potential to create game-changing services and features, a solid UX design strategy gets everyone in the organization on the same page and helps prepare for potential curveballs along the way.
Benefits for the Business
Creating a product that’s validated by the user is the best way to stay ahead of the competition. About 74% of businesses agree that UX is critical for driving sales, but only 55% of companies conduct usability tests with their users.
Testing with the intended user shows that your company cares about creating solutions that people feel good about using. An easy and engaging experience also inspires loyalty in the consumer. If they know they can accomplish a task in 10 seconds with your product, then they’ll keep coming back for more.
Ex: When a business knows exactly who its users are and what they need, it’s easier to empathize with them and build successful products that people feel good about using.
Aside from making the user feel good, a thoroughly planned UX strategy can also come in handy to impress investors. It goes deeper than outlining business goals and instead illustrates how you’re going to satisfy users with measurable goals.
Benefits for the Internal Team
Think of the UX design strategy as a plan of attack for an entire project. Each team member will have their own tasks to achieve each measurable goal, but the overall strategy is designed to keep the team organized and on track.
When the entire team understands users’ needs, more time can be spent on the actual design of the product. Designers will be able to align project goals with technological capabilities, leaving them more time to create a streamlined experience and iterate it to perfection.
Benefits for the User
The popularity of UX only means one thing for the users…better products all around! There are plenty of statistics to show businesses the value of a good user experience. At the end of the day, a better product for you=more money for them.
With the abundance of digital products to choose from, you’d think businesses would rush to get their idea to market. Many do just that, but it only leads to short-term gratification until a competitor inevitably releases a newer, better product.
UX design strategy forces companies to think user-first instead of profit-first if they want long-term success. If a business wants to stay ahead of its competitors and keep consumers coming back for more, they need to invest the time and funds into quality products.
The Dangers of No UX Strategy
It’s safe to say that without a UX strategy, an entire project will crash and burn, right? Well, not RIGHT away, but the difference will be noticeable.
Without a strong understanding of your users and competitive market, digital product design becomes one big guessing game. There’s no data to show that the solutions will actually work for the end-user, making it harder to reach an MVP or driving the user away entirely.
Many businesses think that gathering data post-launch is the way to go. However, statistics show that 79% of users will immediately leave a product if they don’t like what they see. 30% of users will even abandon a brand they like over one bad user experience.
It’s always possible to win back customers down the line, but a lack of UX strategy can be a major blow to a company’s productivity. After all, what’s a house without a solid foundation? And what good is an awesome idea executed poorly?
Creating and Executing a UX Strategy
So, you want to build an awesome product that your users will go bananas over, but don’t know where to start? Unfortunately, there’s no one foolproof UX strategy that will work for every product. Different products have different users, meaning different goals and KPIs.
Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood apes at CreateApe put together this UX evaluation checklist to help shape your UX design strategy!
- Define Business Strategy
What is your company? What is your product? How does it help users achieve their goals? What is your brand’s positioning in your market? What is the overall goal of this project? How are you measuring the success of the product?
These questions will help you determine the feasibility of your product. Iron out everything from a business standpoint and fill in any logical gaps before turning your attention to the users.
- Identify/Interview Stakeholders
Every project has stakeholders, either internal or external, that will be affected by the success or failure of the product. They could either be a creative director from your organization or a salesperson that’s dependent on your product for their job.
Identify who these people are and conduct user interviews to find out exactly what they need out of the finished product. Getting their open and honest feedback will help you figure out how to meet their needs and uncover pain points in current products (or find an advantage over competitors).
- Competitive Research/Analysis
Who are your biggest competitors? What features do they offer? Where are they succeeding or failing? How could you improve upon their ideas? What do you like/dislike about them? What draws their users to them?
Take plenty of time to examine your competitive market and figure out where you can carve out a space for your product. What are they doing that your company can do better?
This is just a fancy word for brainstorming sessions. Once you’ve gathered all that research, get together with your creative team and start bouncing ideas off one another.
Remember that there’s no such thing as a bad idea during the ideation phase. Encourage your team to put all their ideas out in the open and think logically about how they’ll shape the final product.
- Design Goals
When your team is done conceptualizing this awesome, game-changing product, it’s time to come up with some measurable design goals.
How long will each phase of the product design take? How are you going to test with users? What low-hanging fruit can be designed or fixed quickly? What KPIs will you use to evaluate the success of the product? Set these goals before designing to keep your team on the right track.
- User Testing/Iteration
Now for the most important part of the UX process. Once you have the initial design complete, it’s time to validate your solutions with the intended user. Rinse and repeat until your users are happy across the board.
Be as hands-off as possible when testing and don’t be afraid of negative feedback. Negative feedback saves you from a problem that could drive away users post-launch.
When you have a finished product that your users are happy with, then you’ve reached your MVP (minimum viable product). It’s ready to hit the market!
This doesn’t mean that you’re completely finished with the product, though. You can always go back and make design tweaks or incorporate the feedback you get from users post-launch. Also, think about features or even a new product you can incorporate later down the line.
Who Can Help With UX Design Strategy?
If putting together a UX design strategy seems intimidating, don’t fret! Your market is a jungle, and you don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of UX-perts that can help you navigate unfamiliar terrain and plot out a perfect strategy.
Consider Hiring a…
- UX Designer - UX designers are usually well-versed in UX strategy. They’ll know how to identify your target audience, conduct market research, put together a UX evaluation, and carry out the design according to their findings.
- UX Strategist - There are plenty of specialists that fall under the UX design umbrella. A UX strategist handles the research and evaluation stage from end to end, then hands off their findings to the UX designer. They’re also super knowledgeable about the business side of things (business strategy, negotiation, communication, etc.)
- UX Design Agency - If you have an idea but don’t know where to begin, consider enlisting the help of a full-service UX/UI agency! They’ll likely have an expert in every field of UX (design, development, research, and strategy) to give you a complete product. Start a project with us!
Introducing The Jungle Guide
Still not sure if you want to commit to a large-scale digital product design? No worries! CreateApe’s got you covered.
Our Jungle Guide is the UX evaluation to end all other UX evaluations. It’s easier than dropping your kid off at school! Leave your idea or product with us and we’ll take care of market research, user interviews, design strategy, and full project estimates.
The Jungle Guide gives you crucial insight into your users and the features that will make your product a success. Once we finish the evaluation, you can either choose to have us do the design or take it in-house and give your creative team a strong jumping-off point.
But don’t just take our word for it…hear directly from our clients!
Ready to Strategize?
Now that you know what a UX strategy is, are you thinking about how you can use one to create or improve your products?
UX design strategy is incredibly valuable to both your business and your users. It takes a lot of the guessing out of product design and allows you to get reassurance directly from your users before hitting the market. Remember that when it comes to digital products, happy users=happy business.
Need some help getting your project off the ground? Check out our web design and development services to see how CreateApe can help you.