There are lots of ways UX designers can support the creative team besides delivering standard task flows, sitemaps and wireframes. One way to add value is to use a strategy map.
Get The Big Picture
With regard to promotional websites, a strategy map is a visual representation of a consumer’s online experience and all the major touch points during a given promotion.
Strategy maps are a great way to paint a vivid picture of an upcoming promotion. Rather than using a traditional outline, they help teams visually identify all the necessary promotional components and any issues related to connecting the dots between them.
Case Study: Major Brand Promotion
I recently used a strategy map during the early stages of a UX project for a major brand’s online promotion. It seemed like an easy way to help the design team crystalize their vision for the project.
It began with a conversation with the creative director. Besides doing UX for the upcoming website, she asked me to help her articulate the big picture of a new product launch that tied in with a major motion-picture release.
The challenge was to get people to come back to the site multiple times and increase awareness during the summer blockbuster season.
Out Of Her Brain And On To The Screen
The creative director had everything in her head but was struggling to communicate it out to her team and the client. I asked her to describe everything to me in detail. Together we created a simple map with rectangles representing all the promotional elements involved, how they tied back to the site and when they needed to launch.
The promotional elements involved included several emails, Twitter, and a grass roots print campaign.
Works With Paper Too
The really nice part about using diagramming software for this excercise was the ease with which we could move stuff around. Looking back, we also could have used post-it notes if my laptop wasn’t handy.
The first iteration was almost like a mind-map, with lots of scattered ideas and very little organization. But soon things started to gel as we put a timeline against these ideas and started to organize them by different launch dates.
Easier Client Approval
The final version was a very simple illustrated timeline that clearly represented the life cycle of the final promotion. Even better, the client was able to see how the team had clearly thought out all aspects of the program. She quickly approved the strategy map and was also able to use it for her own internal communications.
Give strategy maps a try and see if they help your teams more clearly express and communicate creative ideas. What other types of tools do you use to help teams focus on the big picture? Please share your thoughts in the comments.