Welcome to Strategy Matters, my new column on UXmatters, which will focus on answering these essential questions: How should we define UX strategy today? Where is it going? As UX professionals, how can we better develop ourselves and those who have yet to find their home in this field? Building on that premise, I’d like to put out a few disclaimers as I kick off this column:
I think I’m a UX Strategist… This is how I have chosen to define myself and what I can offer to the field of User Experience. I share this self-affixed title with many others, but there’s really no saying who is or who isn’t a UX Strategist, because there’s no accepted definition or criteria for the role. How anyone can claim to be a UX Strategist without feeling some degree of Imposter Syndrome escapes me. But if I look at my peers who I feel most closely affiliated with—and the things that interest us and the types of work that we seek and do for clients—I’m an Experience Strategist. (I’ll take the U out for now and explain that in an upcoming column.) However, like many or even most others with this title, there are deficiencies in my skillset and experience that some could argue disqualify me from making this assertion. And that’s because…
When I talk to companies, customers, and colleagues about UX strategy and the importance of understanding the end-to-end customer experience, I often tell stories about seemingly trivial parts of an experience with a brand that can have huge impacts. Small things can have significant impacts on customer acquisition and loyalty—and companies often overlook or under-prioritize them. For example:
The process of exchanging a pair of shoes to get the right size may be so cumbersome that you don’t even want to bother with it.
A meal that you have at a restaurant leaves a bad taste in your mouth—not because it wasn’t delicious, but because the server was inattentive and rude.
Navigating a company’s interactive voice response (IVR) system to speak to a real person on the phone becomes a test of rage restraint, because it’s so abundantly clear that they want to make it as hard as possible.
User Experience has finally arrived! You may have heard this before—okay, perhaps many times before. I’ve said this a few times myself: “This is going to be the year for UX!” But, after my more than 15 years in this field, I’m personally convinced at last because I’m no longer predicting change. I’m seeing this change all around me. I think 2016 really is the year I’ll remember for the scales tipping toward User Experience as a strategy—when the business game changed in substantive ways.
As a consultant who works with many clients on their experience strategy and design, I’m seeing strong evidence that UX skills—both strategic and technical—are no longer ancillary, nice-to-have, episodic considerations. Read More