Announcing The UX Strategy Handbook

The UX Strategy HandbookI’m pleased to announce that I’m writing a book about UX strategy. I want to share the lessons I’ve learned over the last 20 years of working in web design for Fortune 500 companies and everything I’m learning today to help people build better websites and apps.

Why UX Strategy?

I believe that more than any other aspect of digital design and development, taking the time to create an effective UX strategy will do the most to bring a digital product success in the marketplace. There’s no doubt that a well-crafted UX strategy creates a focused, shared understanding of a product’s vision that everyone can rally around.

For your product to succeed, you and your team must be completely aligned. This means everyone sings the same song when it comes to design and development.

This shared understanding will also apply to all aspects of your finished product – branding, marketing, sales, production, fulfillment, and especially customer service. That’s why it’s so important to build it on a firm foundation from the start.

But with so much information out there on UX design, where do you start, especially if you’re new?

Based on conversations I’ve had with many people outside the user experience discipline, UX strategy, if they are even familiar with the term, has the reputation of being a bit cumbersome and wonky. I’m out to change that.

While there are many different approaches to achieving project goals, a UX strategy can be lightweight and nimble with the right team in place. It helps to have a reliable framework to help focus your efforts.

Who This Book Is For

My goal is to provide an accessible and easy to follow UX strategy framework to everyday designers, developers and business people who need to make things happen but aren’t sure where to begin. I’ve used these same methods in my consulting work for many years, so I know they work.

A lot has changed since the web was brand new and shiny. But a lot has stayed the same, especially when it comes to corporate digital initiatives.

Corporate websites and apps are still about people, politics and finding that elusive sweet spot between business goals and customer needs. Anyone involved in UX design needs to know how to carefully navigate these waters.

Even if you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur with high ideals, you still need to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to move your project forward. A sound, well-articulated UX strategy will help you do that. More importantly, it will also help you build the right product for your customers.

Whether you are in a corporate or startup environment, creating an effective UX strategy around your digital product will help you become a better facilitator, collaborator, and overall team leader.

Table of Contents

So, what’s in the book? I’ll be releasing a sample chapter soon, but here’s the Table of Contents:

1. Why UX Strategy?
2. Collaboration
3. Process
4. Getting Started
5. User Research
6. Content
7. Stakeholders
8. Competitive Analysis
9. Personas
10. Customer Stories
11. Requirements
12. Information Architecture
13. Sketching
14. Wireframes
15. Prototypes and Testing
16. Iteration

Unique Products, Unique People

While there are certainly a variety of established design approaches, patterns and current design trends, every digital product is different because it serves a unique group of people. Figuring out what really works for a given audience takes time and due diligence.

A clearly defined product solution must match up with specific user needs and business goals. People need to know why it exists and what problem it solves.

Lean vs. “Traditional” UX

While Lean UX is currently all the rage, I’m actually not a big fan for large projects. But I’m not “anti-Lean” either. While I think there are elements of Lean that are incredibly useful, sometimes a Lean approach just isn’t as effective as it could be when working in a larger corporate setting.

Instead, I think a hybrid approach blending Lean UX with more traditional methods works better. For example, starting with a Lean Canvas is an excellent way to quickly define the product, who it is for and how it fits into the overall marketplace. This helps teams quickly focus on what’s most important at a high level.

But from there it’s useful to do a deep dive into clearly defining the audience and understanding the market. This is accomplished by creating buyer personas based on real-world user research, competitive analysis and stakeholder interviews. While these activities can take time, they can also boost ROI several times over.

Elevate The Design Conversation

I’ve seen a lot of discussion in the UX design community about the need to exit the deliverables business. I totally agree that it’s not necessary to create any more documentation than is absolutely necessary to move a project forward. If a whiteboard sketch can immediately go to a developer, that’s awesome.

But more often there are non-technical business stakeholders who need to understand a design’s intent. That’s when UX strategy documents earn their keep. Their purpose is to tell the story of a design solution, clarify decisions, reduce inefficiency and make things easier for everyone involved.

Well-crafted design documents elevate the design conversation and help teams intelligently iterate the product out of the abstract and into the concrete.

Signup For 20% Off at Launch

If all this sounds good to you, please signup for my book launch notification list using the form below. On launch day you’ll receive a 20% discount code if you buy within the first 72 hours. I expect to release the book later this Spring, depending on my current teaching and consulting schedule.

I’ll be sending periodic progress updates to my email list and asking for occasional feedback as we get closer to launch. In the meantime, I’ve got a lot to learn and am excited to share the adventure with you. And while we’re at it, please let me know what would help you the most in the comments. Thanks for reading!


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