User experience (UX) is integral to the success of a company or brand. Your customer’s experience on your website, via your mobile app, etc. goes beyond just their ability to find the items for which they’re searching.
It’s also about their feelings. How does the experience that your UX team is delivering make your customers feel? Do they love your products? Are they satisfied or frustrated by your checkout process?
These are all factors that play into your design processes, and it’s a lot to sort through. In order to properly identify priorities, and ensure that your teams are able to create the best possible user experiences, you need to define your UX strategy.
What is UX Strategy?
UX strategy helps align various teams and goals into one strategy document that clearly outlines guidelines and purpose. Essentially, it’s the plan for creating a digital product, like a website. Unlike many plans, it doesn’t just focus on features, but also considers customer feelings.
This might sound unnecessary, but think about someone you know who loves coffee. They’re probably either Team Starbucks or Team Dunkin, or perhaps they prefer a small, local, artisan roaster.
At the end of the day, the product is pretty similar - a cup of coffee. At larger chains, the features are probably even very close: mobile app ordering, nutritional guides, reward points, etc. Yet many coffee drinkers have a strong brand preference, simply because of the way that brand makes them feel.
Consequently, UX strategists help businesses think through customer touchpoints to unite business goals, user needs, and technology. UX strategy ensures that you don’t try to solve all problems for all teams, and dilute your digital product. Instead, you stay focused on the big picture - solving the most important problems for users.
How to Create a UX Strategy
Creating a UX strategy involves several steps:
In order to develop a meaningful UX strategy, you need to understand who your user is. Some companies go so far as to hire a user researcher, while others take advantage of customer surveys, focus groups, and other tools.
Regardless of your approach, be sure to not only thoroughly review exactly what users want to see in your website design, but also how they currently interact with your existing site. What devices do they use to access your site? Why or why not do they spend a lot of time on certain sections?
In addition to users, it’s also worth researching how your stakeholders - leadership teams, team members, financial partners, etc. - view the current and desired design. What input can they offer about what’s working well and what isn’t? What metrics matter to them that they’d like to monitor throughout the process? What is budget and anticipated timeline for the product teams to develop or improve user experience?
Finally, consider researching how competitors design their user experience. What are they doing that’s working, and what are they doing that could be improved? How could your company differentiate itself?
Align all of your research, as well as stakeholder voices and original ideas, into one product vision.
Once you have an idea of what your users are looking for, start outlining your design. Map out the user experience path through the design, and determine metrics for success.
As you’re planning, consider that your design should address the majority of users, not just implement individual requests. Additionally, pay careful attention to ADA compliance and other accessible features. Inclusive design benefits everyone.
It’s critical to test your planned design, particularly against previously identified metrics that will help determine if the design is successful.
Have a testing timeline where you roll out a beta version, conduct A/B tests, collect data, and further solicit and gather user input.
Once you’ve tested everything, analyze the data and feedback. Is the design driving users to make purchases, or to other desired outcomes? What can you adjust to ensure that users have the best experience, and that your business strategies and goals are also satisfied?
5. Revising & Implementing
So you’ve tested, gathered and analyzed the appropriate data, and made your adjustments. Now it’s time to make the identified revisions, small or large.
Once you’ve completed the revisions, rerelease the product and test it again.
Once your user experience is solidified, published, and functioning - don’t neglect it.
As your brand evolves, so should your user experience. Even more significantly, as technology and trends evolve, make sure that your design doesn’t get left behind. Nothing is more frustrating to a user than a website that doesn’t load (in fact, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, according to Neil Patel, a marketing expert).
If your website appears out-of-date, 38% of people will stop engaging with it, either out of mistrust or frustration. It’s important to invest in maintaining and refreshing your product so that all of your hard work doesn’t devalue over time.
A UX strategy helps streamline what can otherwise quickly become an overly complex process. It helps your teams stay focused on the big picture, and ensures that you ultimately create a product that will have the most impact for both your users and your bottom line.
If you’re not sure how to get started on developing a UX strategy, reach out the team at Object Edge. Our experts are here to help.