Designers often overlook corporate strategy. It might be because so few designers are involved in defining that strategy. When designers don’t understand their company’s goals and expectations for the launch of a new product or the implementation of a new feature, it’s the same as not knowing the end user. That lack of knowledge makes it really, really tough to solve problems.
The UX Strategy Blueprint by Jim Kalbach is awesome for understanding high-level strategy, but it doesn’t delve into day-to-day work. Jeff Gothelf’s Lean UX Canvas is a powerful tool to help raise hypotheses and set next steps, but so little helps inexperienced designers to know whether to continue with an idea.
The UX Strategy Guide
The UX Strategy Guide is meant to help designers understand and use both the Lean UX Canvas and the UX Strategy Blueprint, with added information to assist in making final decisions. The guide helps in the research of problems, audiences, ideas, hypotheses, risk analysis, and decision-making about a considered product. Twelve steps, divided into five categories, are required to complete it.
Understanding the problem and expectations
The first category (light blue, steps 1-5) refers to the understanding of the problem, what’s expected to be solved, what challenges are to be overcome, differences in existing solutions, and how to measure project success.
Remember that in this category, we’re writing about the problem that we believe exists. A common mistake when a product already exists is to describe the challenges the solution is suffering. The purpose here is to first identify the problem, then work on the solution.
Who is the user? What are the expected benefits?
The second category (light green, steps 6-7) is about understanding the real users of the product and what benefits they expect to get while using it.
Name the ideas
Step 8 (in light yellow) is a space for recording all ideas about features that are related to the information collected in the previous steps. It’s always interesting to find out that “the perfect idea” doesn’t make sense to the user or the business.
Finding out what’s important first
Steps 9-11 (in light orange) focus on Jeff Gothelf’s fine work, being the essence of Lean UX. Here, we raise assumptions about features that are beneficial to both users and the corporation. We also think about the most serious risks and how to identify their probability.
The main step
As designers, we love moving pixels and thinking about relationships between screens. When all questions in step 12 are YES, we can start prototyping.
One (or more) NO answers state the lack of relevant information for decision making. Moving on carries a very high risk of rework. After all, it’s better to perform another iteration by raising what’s missing than starting a design that will be revised or abandoned later.
UX strategy is a theme that requires study, patience, and dedication. It involves several areas of design and a close relationship with other areas of the company—especially product management and marketing. Thus, understanding and benefiting from this knowledge brings tremendous value to our designs.
The UX Strategy Guide is a tool that can help you better understand your company, audience, and market. Feel free to adapt it to your needs.